What is Mountaineering?
Mountaineering is an outdoor activity that involves hiking, rock climbing, ice climbing or otherwise climbing mountains and reaching high altitudes. Mountaineering typically involves climbing through difficult terrain; whether that’s hard technically or at a high altitude. Many mountaineers participate in the sport for personal challenge, exploration, adventure, and to gain a deeper appreciation of nature.
Mountaineers can face a variety of challenges – exposed ridges, unstable terrain or extreme weather conditions to name a few – but if you’re an adrenaline junkie, this sport could be the one for you.
What types of mountaineering are there?
There are several different types of mountaineering, each with their own unique challenges.
Alpine Mountaineering often involves climbing in snowy or icy conditions. With this type of mountaineering, you may need an ice pick and you can expect lots of scrambling up slippery surfaces. Alpine mountaineering requires you to have skills and tools to snow climb, use ice picks, and be able to use other climbing techniques.
Expedition mountaineering is the type of mountaineering you would do when climbing Everest, for example. This type is extremely taxing on the body, often involving several days of climbing followed by rest at different camps. With this method of climbing, you can climb the world’s highest peaks, or try your hand at less explored or remote mountains. You will be travelling with a pack, rather than just a day trip, so be sure to account for the added weight when training for this sort of climb.
This is probably the easiest way to get into climbing and build on your techniques. For this type of climbing, you can scale heights using cracks or crags to work up the side of a cliff face, and you can use ropes to help. If you’re just starting out and need to build strength, you can boulder, which is a type of lower height climbing usually without ropes.