Is this the best training for mountaineering? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-08-2017, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Vancouver Island
Interest: Backpacking, mountaineering
Posts: 2
Default Is this the best training for mountaineering?

Hey everyone;

My wife and I are experienced multi-day backpackers (with a handful of higher-altitude Asian treks under our belt), but we have ZERO technical climbing skills. Aside from playing around at the indoor climbing wall a couple times.

We'd now like to get into some real mountaineering starting in B.C., with the goal of going on some longer/higher expeditions once we get experience. Aconcagua, perhaps.

Any suggestions on the best way to get into mountaineering and develop these skills the right way? My plan to is to take this course:

http://themountainschool.com/program...ls-essentials/

Is this the best route to go? Has anyone else taken it?

Any and all suggestions are much appreciated.

Thanks!
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 12:08 AM
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Port Coquitlam
Interest: kayaking,hiking,scrambling,snowboarding,canyoneering-and the normal stuff.
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While I can not say anything about the specific course in question, it sounds like a great way to get going if you have the baseline fitness. I have taken AST-1 with them and had an excellent experience and wouldn't hesitate to do more skills training with them.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 01:17 AM
Off the Beaten Path
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC
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From my experience you don't HAVE TO seek out professional training to get into mountaineering. It's a game largely built on your own experience rather than an engineering program taught by others. If you come to a point that you need a specific skill then go for a private guiding (rather than in a course setting with a whole group of strangers).

You need to build solid scrambling skills and fitness. Go out as much as you can, with friends who are more experienced than you and learn from them is the fastest way to advance in this game. Once you have some skills consider going out with people less experienced so to lead as much as you can. This advances you much faster than always following others footsteps.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 09:22 AM
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I took the Canada West course several years ago with my two sons. It was a good introduction to technical climbing and glacier travel, both of which are important skills if you want to do mountaineering.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 01:28 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada.
Interest: general mountaineering/ hiking/ backpacking/ skiing/ kayaking
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CWMS is an excellent organization, with a great track record. I see you're from Vancouver Island. A local guide company also comes highly recommended. Island Alpine Guides, out of Cumberland. www.islandalpineguides.com
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 02:42 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: North Vancouver, BC, Canada.
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What StevenSong said. Join local hiking/climbing clubs (ACC, BCMC,....). Gradually build your confidence, experience, and skills on the mountain on trips with more experienced people. I did take some courses with schools (AST-1, Crevasse rescue) and some led by BCMC volunteers. So far the quality of the volunteer ones and the tips from my friends surpasses those of the professional schools. Self-educate yourself as much as possible (Freedom of the Hills, Staying alive in avalanche terrain, Avalanche Canada web resources).
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youliana View Post
What StevenSong said. Join local hiking/climbing clubs (ACC, BCMC,....). Gradually build your confidence, experience, and skills on the mountain on trips with more experienced people. I did take some courses with schools (AST-1, Crevasse rescue) and some led by BCMC volunteers. So far the quality of the volunteer ones and the tips from my friends surpasses those of the professional schools. Self-educate yourself as much as possible (Freedom of the Hills, Staying alive in avalanche terrain, Avalanche Canada web resources).
I know some people would spend 400-700 $$ for a course, but then only do mountaineering trips 1 or 2 times per year (and largely following others). Their boots were probably gonna last for 10 years and won't even have much scratch on it. I'm curious what those money was spent for...

For just a kick-starter, those volunteered ones are just as useful as the professionals. Also liked mentioned above, spend your spare time read as much mountain related pages as you can. Bookmark Avalanche.ca and follow some Facebook groups, and read all their posts. Your knowledge level will increase dramatically after a year around.
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 04:38 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: North Vancouver, BC, Canada.
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Some more resources:
Technique/guide books:
http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/

There is a new book by ACC/Petzl/UIAA: Alpine Skills - Summer

Online resources:
http://www.mountaineeringmethodology.com/
https://www.petzl.com/CA/en/Sport/Ac...s#.WJzfcPkrKCo
http://old.avalanche.ca/cac/training...ding-exercises
http://www.crossna.com/forum/post151...t=72635#151817
The last one is put together by one of the volunteer mentors I was lucky to spend some time with.
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 05:12 PM
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If you have the money and want to learn quickly then take a course or hire a professional to teach you a specific skill set. Then take those skills and use them in the mountains with clubs like ACC or BCMC, or with friends. For example, sounds like you have experience in the basics of backpacking and navigation, so you could consider hiring someone to teach you rope systems, crevasse rescue, and glacier travel.

If you are wanting to do actual mountaineering, you generally won't be allowed to join the club trips without prior experience. They will often do screening. Eagerness to learn isn't usually a qualification on trips where there is potential for injury or death. While I've learned a lot from trip leaders in the past, they are not guides or teachers, and shouldn't be treated as such. So, where do you get the experience? My guess is you and your wife don't have a lot of mountaineering friends, or you wouldn't be asking strangers. Best option then is to learn from the pros.

Agreed that the courses run by BCMC and ACC (still under $300 bucks?) are a great place to start (I took one years ago), but because they are short, they are not very thorough. I could be wrong, but I don't think the leaders (though knowledgeable) are certified guides or instructors. Great place to meet other like minded people though and build some contacts.
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 02-09-2017, 10:32 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenSong View Post
..Their boots were probably gonna last for 10 years and won't even have much scratch on it. I'm curious what those money was spent for...
Like everything else: not every kid who went to music school will become a concert piano player, but he will surely know how to appreciate the music.
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