Mountaineering is just splendid. The journey tests your spirit and demands more of you than you ever dreamed possible. With trekking poles in hand, you test what kind of person you are, but it helps to have a bit of advice to make your journey a success. In this article, 10 Mountain Climing Tips for Success: Gear, Advice, and Safety, you will learn about some basics of mountaineering, so you can reach the summit in no time flat.
Just imagine yourself slugging your way up the mountainside through thick and thin to triumph on the top of the mountain. You breath in. You breathe out. The view was worth all that effort. The top awaits you. Let’s get started.
Wait! One more thing I have to mention. In a previous article, I wrote How to Start Mountaineering – a Beginner’s Guide. It will be sure to help you all the way through your journey from absolute beginner to becoming a seasoned amateur. Even if you are a professional, it helps to remind yourself of the basics. From mountaineering lingo and training to planning and basic skills, the article has got you covered. It will be sure to help you.
1. Train to Get in Shape for the Journey
If you want to get to the top of the mountain, then you need to get in shape for the journey ahead. There are two aspects to this, physical and mental. Each plays off each other and interacts with one another to determine your success on the mountain. If you exercise and train on a regular basis, your mind then knows that it is in physical shape to take on the challenge of mountaineering. You become confident. If you close your eyes and visualize yourself heading up the mountain, you prepare your body and mind to get up there in no time flat.
In training, you need to push your limits because the mountain is unforgiving. When you train, it is a safe space. You can fail and go unpunished. That is not the case on the mountain. It shows no mercy, so you need to train if you want to be ready for all that it is going to throw at you. This means lifting weights, doing cardio, and stretching. Make sure to really work your legs. The mountain pushes them to their limit.
2. Get Outdoors at Least Once a Week
It is one thing to go to the gym three times a week, it is another thing to get outside. A good trail readies your body to the rigors of the mountain. It has hills and valleys sure to push your limits. Unlike the confines of a gym, the outdoors are real. You get an idea of what to expect. It is quite close to the real thing, so you are not caught off guard when you go mountaineering.
These kinds of workouts are best done as weighted backpack day hikes. When you are mountaineering, that is pretty much what it will be like. You will be carrying a heavy backpack uphill and downhill. You get close to the real deal in this type of exercise.
The type of hike will ideally lead to a hilltop where you can see a lot from afar. Such a hike will give you an idea of mountaineering. It is also inspiring. You work your way up and see a summit in the distance, willing your whole spirit up to the top, only to be rewarded with a magnificent view. In short, it uplifts you.
3. Always Keep an Eye on the Weather
The weather can change in an instant. Just imagine the Thanos’ snap, but in real life. The weather shows no mercy. As such, you need to check the weather before heading out on your journey. Will there be snow? Will it rain? Is it going to be sunny the whole time? Questions like these help to guide your gear packing. When you know what the weather will be like, you can better pack your backpack.
4. Save Your Soles with Solid Shoes
Mountaineering takes a toll on your feet. You are going to be hiking a lot. It is going to be long, steep, and difficult. There is no way around it. You need good, broken in shoes. I say broken in because new shoes are tight, not loose. They stick to your foot and rub against the feet, wearing them down and creating blisters. Worn in shoes slip on like a champ. You can head up the mountain much easier.
5. Go with a Guide for Your First Time
You need to go with a guide on your first time. They will show you the ropes, literally and figuratively, helping to make sure you are safe and teaching you the tricks of the trade. There is no better way to learn than from a seasoned veteran. They know how to handle themselves on the mountain and they will pass that knowledge onto you. If you go by yourself, then you risk injury and your life. On the mountain, it is safer to go in group. Your team members will pick you up when you fall down, inspiring you when you feel like you have no energy left.
6. Eat Nutritious Food to Power You Up
When I say nutritious food, I mean calorie dense food. Mountaineering burns thousands of calories a day, shedding pounds of fat and causing your muscles to scream for food. It can really take a toll. You need to satiate your body, so be sure to eat a lot.
7. Have the Gear to Start an Emergency Fire
If you get lost or separated from your group, then you need to be able to spark an emergency fire. With a fire in hand, people can see you far away in the distance. In The Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King, Pippin lit the fire at Gondor to call Rohan for aid. Signal fires jumped across mountains to alert the rohirrim to Gondor’s need. That is the power of fire. You need to be able to light a fire to call for help if need be.
Not only does fire help you call for aid, but it also keeps you warm. When you are thousands of feet above sea level, life feels a lot colder. It can really be a lot to handle. A fire fends off hypothermia and keeps your spirits up.
8. Small Accomplishments Build Up Over Time
In the film Touching the Void, Simpson broke his leg and then later separated from his partner Yates on the dangerous downhill stretch of Siuala Grande in the Peruvian Andes. To make it out alive, Simpson set micro goals. He would not go for big, ambitious challenges, but say “I’m going to go twenty steps in twenty minutes,” and then follow it up with another one like, “I’m going to make it to the top of that hill in fifteen minutes.” After about five hours or so, he looked back on his accomplishments. It had compounded and he had gone far.
The point is that the aggregation of marginal gains add up over time. The ultimate goal is to reach the summit, but that feels like a lofty goal when you are dead tired only a third of the way up the mountain. In response, you need to slow down and set micro goals in your mind on the trail. It is easier if you say them out loud.
9. Focus on Your Movements
Every step, every pick, every breath matters. It impacts the mountain and it responds. You need to watch your step. Sometimes you can be on unstable ground. When you focus on your breathe, it brings you to the present moment and you must be present on the mountain. Conditions can change in an instant and you must be able to respond to challenges as they arise. When you are present, you reduce your hesitation time and that can mean the difference between success and failure on the mountain.
Also, you slow down when you focus on your movements. Mountaineering is not a race, but a grueling multi-day ultra marathon. Successful climbers reach the top because of their grit and steady pace. If you try to rush up the mountain, it will bite you in the butt because of the altitude sickness and demands on your body. Slow down and take a steady pace.
10. Enjoy the Scenery to Remind Yourself of Your Why
Unless you are trying to become a professional, mountaineering is probably not a race to the top. It is a challenge to yourself. Can you really do this? Do you have it in you to scale a mountain and face nature? When you look at nature as you climb, you appreciate the surrounding beauty, fostering the soul that lies deep within you. You remind yourself of why you are scaling the seemingly insurmountable. You take a deep breath in and breathe out. Life does not seem so difficult after a mountaineering expedition.
Are You Going to Get Outside this Week?
You should now be better prepared to scale the challenge before you. Visualize yourself winding your way up to top, seeing the difficulties you will face and envisioning yourself at the summit. When you mountaineer, you become a better person. It starts small though, with an outdoor hike. You can find a link to AllTrails.com below. It will help prepare you for the journey. A hike plants the seed of inspiration. Are you going to get outside this week? I know you have it in you.
If you have any thoughts, questions, or think I missed anything, do not hesitate to comment below and please share the article. Thank you so much and I hope you make it a great day!