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SnowByrd

The ABC's of Alpine

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Alpine climbing often involves climbing with a pack. Go to the gym and climb with a pack filled with a bunch of books or something (and make sure to hook an ice-axe on the outside). Make sure to be wearing your helmet too.

 

Post your plan to do this in the "Events Forum" please. I'd pay money to watch this gaperness. yellaf.gif

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Have does one learn the olive oil skill? I get a bad vision if it's not properly learned. yelrotflmao.gif

 

Umm. Yeah.

 

The vision is pretty bad, but it was the smell that really bothers me.

cheeburga_ron.gifcry.gif

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Olestra is Twight's secret ingredient to alpine badassness. The whole Gu thing is a front.

 

He travels with a flask of whisky and a Camelback of Olestra.

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Go camping. There are many skills you learn from simply backpacking on multiday trip that will serve you very well in the alpine- how to pack a pack, how to pack lightly, how to dress when active & at rest, how to stay warm, how to not get lost, yadda yadda.

This skills strike some people as so fundamental that they're surprised not everyone knows this stuff, but you'll be miserable without it.

 

dead on. i recall a comment i read many years ago from Paul Petzoldt, who claimed that the Americans only failed to climb K2 on their 1938 expedition (of which he was a member, and the one who reached the high point of around 7900m) because many of the team members were not good campers.

 

unless you're comfortable LIVING in the hills, you can't "step beyond" to deal with the climbing.

 

(well, actually there're lots of uncomplicated, accessible, day-trip alpine rock routes that don't demand much ability to deal with complication, and they are good places to start. but that's not generally what we think of as quintessential "alpine climbing", i.e., rock, snow, ice, glacier, mixed, longer, more serious...)

 

cheers, don

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A well-honed ability to romanticize painful circumstances is a must for any happy and successful alpine climber. If you can say to yourself, "man, that time I hiked into Boston Basin in the rain and dislocated my shoulder without even getting on the damn route was sure a blast!" then you are well on your way to heading back up there again in inclement weather, facing an attack by wasps, huddling under a tarp for a few hours in the rain nursing the stings and AGAIN not get on the damn route. Did I mention that you will have a good time?

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A well-honed ability to romanticize painful circumstances is a must for any happy and successful alpine climber. If you can say to yourself, "man, that time I hiked into Boston Basin in the rain and dislocated my shoulder without even getting on the damn route was sure a blast!" then you are well on your way to heading back up there again in inclement weather, facing an attack by wasps, huddling under a tarp for a few hours in the rain nursing the stings and AGAIN not get on the damn route. Did I mention that you will have a good time?

 

yellaf.gif Oh, man too true... or how about you're in some 3rd world shithole country blessed with great mtns but anything y'all eat staples your entire team's asses to the throne w/ a bucket in front of you to catch the puke too? All you want to do is die and get the hell out of that god damn country and eat some safe american food. 3 months later, all you remember are the fun parts and great views from the summit. 6 months later, everybody is on board and excited w/ tickets in hand for another round of climbing and dysentery. 1 year later you are stapled to a toilet again,puking your guts out muttering "WTF was I thinking?". And the cycle goes on and on... hahaha.gif

 

Climbers with selective memory are truely the best climbers. Perhaps it is from spending so much time starving your brain of O2?

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Learn to suffer. You will be cold, wet, tired, hungry, your head will hurt, your feet will hurt, you will feel like you want to throw up, you hands will be cold, you will ask your self a million times why am I doing this, you will get bumped, bruised, scraped cut, blistered, sun burnt, bug chewed, run it thorny plants, plants that sting, plants that make you itch, it will be too bright out, it will be too dark out, you will loose equipment, you will destroy equipment, you will spend way too much money on equipment, your equipment will fail you, you will be scared, you will want to cry, you will go home with your tail between your legs, you will drive many hours and walk many miles just to have the weather crap out on you, at times you life will be in danger, you will wish you had listened to your friends advice, you will wish you hand not listened to your friends advice, you will hate your climbing partners, you will smell really bad, and many many more unpleasant things will happen. In the end if you have a short memory and keep at it you will have the time of your life! I think the saying “jack of all trades, master of none” is good to keep in mind. You will need to know a little (or a lot) about a lot of things. In the end much of it will come with experience, some of it bad but much of it good.

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Its like fun. But different.

Wasn't it Lowe who said, "The best climber is the one with the shortest memory"?

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Learn to suffer. You will be cold, wet, tired, hungry, your head will hurt, your feet will hurt, you will feel like you want to throw up, you hands will be cold, you will ask your self a million times why am I doing this, you will get bumped, bruised, scraped cut, blistered, sun burnt, bug chewed, run it thorny plants, plants that sting, plants that make you itch, it will be too bright out, it will be too dark out, you will loose equipment, you will destroy equipment, you will spend way too much money on equipment, your equipment will fail you, you will be scared, you will want to cry, you will go home with your tail between your legs, you will drive many hours and walk many miles just to have the weather crap out on you, at times you life will be in danger, you will wish you had listened to your friends advice, you will wish you hand not listened to your friends advice, you will hate your climbing partners, you will smell really bad, and many many more unpleasant things will happen. In the end if you have a short memory and keep at it you will have the time of your life! I think the saying “jack of all trades, master of none” is good to keep in mind. You will need to know a little (or a lot) about a lot of things. In the end much of it will come with experience, some of it bad but much of it good.

 

Man, that sounds like shit! Or at least, alpine climbing in winter (except for the plants bit).

 

I'd add that once in a while (depending on your patience for good weather and whatnot) you just get out there and run up something under the clear blue sky, moving smoooove like butta, with your shit totally together feeling like nothing could stop you. The climbing is killer, the views are grand, the company is rad, and there's just no place better in the whole world. Those days are what will probably bring you back more than anything else.

 

But yeah, you can expect some suffering before you get there. If you climb mostly in the summer and wait for decent weather reports, expect much less suffering, but also considerably less climbing (around here, anyway).

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You guys are really making this alpine thing sound like fun.

 

That's part of the hard man mentality on this board, Fenderfore. We like to beat our chests about how whatever we do is better than what anyone else does, and Alpine climbing is the real deal but everybody knows that gyms suck.

 

When I saw Matt's original post about going to the gym with your pack I thought about adding that you should also take the pea gravel out and replace it with sharp rocks, make all the holds breakable, install a shower device that intermittently drops rocks and water on your head ...

 

These "warnings" are accurate, but what may not have been adequately stated is that you can start with relatively friendly climbs and work your way into it.

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Alpine IS my favorite style. It often is not pain-causing or brutal. But I am always ready for things to get brutal should the weather change, or I get off route, or lost in a dense forest. If it weren't fun most of the time, I might not do it. But if it was not possible that conditions or situations could deteriorate, it wouldn't be as much fun. I think a lot of what comes across as chest-beating is just friendly banter amoungst people who have a good idea of who the other people are. For the record, no one should be impressed with my climbing abilities. I am an average guy with enough money to buy high tech gear. Without it, my fat old body wouldn't be going half of where it goes now.

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Alpine ABCs:

 

A is for Aid. There is no time to frig around trying a move free a million times if its faster to just pull on a sling or whatever.

 

B is for Beta. Get as much info as you can ahead of time. Know where the descent is before you climb the mountain.

 

C is for Conditions. If Conditions are good you will be a hero. If Conditions suck you might epic or Die.

 

D is for Die. Lots of alpinists Die. It is the most dangerous part of climbing.

 

E is for Epic. Epics can lead to death or internet Embarassment.

 

F is for Fast. Speed is safety.

 

G is for GriGri. Don't take one in the mountains. G is also for Gu. Learn to love the energy gels.

 

H is for Hard. Alpine climbers like to think they are Hard so they eat Horsecock and try to emulate steve House. But Hard also indicates that what you can climb easily at the crag will seem very HARD indeed when wearing big boots and carrying an overnight pack and there are no bolts and the rock is bad.

 

I is for Ibuprofen. After a 20 hour climb and a 6 hour descent back to your bivi you might want to pop Vitamin I.

 

J is for Jumping Crevasses. An essential alpine skill. Don't fall in unless your name is Joe.

 

K is for Knots. Alpine climbing uses more Knots than crag climbing does. I never see people tying in with a butterfly at the crag.

 

L is for Light. If you are Loaded Lightly you can climb Fast.

 

M is for Mountain. Alpine climbing is about these babies.

 

N is for New Routes. Climbing New Routes is the essence of Alpinism.

 

O is for Oxygen. As you go up it gets thinner. Learn to deal. Bottled O is for wankers and guided clients (suckers).

 

P is for Precipitation. The alpinist's enemy and the skiiers friend. You will find wet rock and snow covered rock to be entirely new challenges.

 

Q is for Questioning authority. Don't delegate your safety to others. Learn how to do everything and how to test everything. Trust no one.

 

R is for Rock! Alpine climbing often involves Rock of questionable quality. When you fling some down, always yell.

 

S is for skiing. A necessary evil in order to approach climbs. S is also for Seracs. Climbing under Seracs is often necessary, but always scary. How fast can you run up a 40 degree slope with a big pack on?

 

T is for Trees. Alpinism begins above the treeline. Usually. Look out for mountains named Johannesburg. Long vegetated approaches are part of the game on the Coast and in the Cascades. If you dont like it, move to Chamonix where T stands for Telepherique.

 

U is for Ultraviolet. Destroys your skin and degrades your nylon.

 

V is for Varmints like snafflehounds bears and goats. snaf.gif

 

W is for Water. Stay hydrated. At some point you will find that it is lighter to carry a stove and a pot and melt what you need than it is to carry liquid water. W is also for Whiteout. This is when the air is so full of frozen Water you have no idea Where you are.

 

X is for X-rated. Scary and runout climbing is more often found in the alpine than anywhere else.

 

Y is what people will ask you and what you will ask yourself. "Y, Y, Y did I say I want to climb this god damn mountain?" is a mantra often heard during epics.

 

Z is for Z-pulley. Learn how to set one up.

Edited by Dru

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S is for skiing. A necessary evil in order to approach climbs.

 

Shit, Droo, how many years and you still haven't learned to ski? How can someone enjoy something as obscure and contrived as canyoneering and not be into skiing?!

yellaf.gif

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Alpine climbing is a lot easier than being a teen age single parent. Or being the parent of a single teen ager for that matter. And a lot more fun.

Edited by danielpatricksmith

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D is for Die. Lots of alpinists Die. It is the most dangerous part of climbing.
Oh come on! You think dying is the most dangerous part of climbing? I don't think it comes close to blisters, or the time I scraped the back of my hand in a jam crack.

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