PDA

View Full Version : Moving up the scale of mountains



MechAeroE
03-18-2009, 11:00 PM
As I am sure this is true with many others here, but my goal is to eventually work my way up to the big mountains such as Denali. I am an Eagle Scout and have been very familiar with the outdoors for most of my life with a great deal of winter experience. I feel like I have been hiking smaller mountains all of my life (3500' and below), even though I just recently soloed Washington. My goal for this summer is to complete the 48 4ker's and possibly some other peaks in the surrounding area.
What are normally the best mountains to work towards after Washington? I have heard many summiting Kilimanjaro early in their climbing careers, but I am not sure if this is the best "big" mountain to start on.

I guess I am just trying to refocus my near goals after climbing Washington. Any advice?

Thanks!

Bill O
03-19-2009, 07:37 AM
Other than altitude Kilimanjaro doesn't have much in common with Denali. It's really just a walk up. Still a great mountain that I highly recommend, but its more hiking than mountaineering.

You should keep hiking in the east, but for Denali training you should head out to Washington for experience. You need the glaciers and the endurance aspect those mountains provide.

Winter camping in the east would also be helpful.

TrishandAlex
03-19-2009, 08:11 AM
Great thread! I've been thinking the same thing. If Alex is interested (when she's older), I'd love to take her out west and I personally would LOVE to do Kiliminjaro. After all necessary training, of course.

MelNino
03-19-2009, 08:47 AM
Ha, evertime I read about mountianeering (rereading 'No Shortcuts to the Top'....need more books) I get the urge to start training to do more than a hike up.

Then reality sets in, and I realize I need more smaller mountains to add to my short lis first :) Anyone up for Katahdin? :D

Patrad Fischroy
03-19-2009, 08:52 AM
Hey, there is a list of about 54 peaks here in Colorado that they say can be somewhat challenging (as well as a bunch more under 14K that I prefer)

Brad
03-19-2009, 09:01 AM
Mel,

Katahdin is a great mountain to do. The Knife Edge is really cool - in good weather please. When I was in college I was co-trip leader for a girls' camp in Maine one summer. They did not have much of a trip program and I was to improve it. We ended up doing the Knife Edge with the older girls and they loved it. Such a beautiful place.

climbabout
03-19-2009, 09:26 AM
I can relate my experiences after Mount Washington.

Being cautious and methodical, I did not progress from Mount Washington until I had a couple of dozen winter summits under my belt - some on guided trips earlier on and some on my own.
I supplemented that training and experience with some rock climbing lessons and several days of ice climbing instruction over several winters. Learning some rudimentary rock and ice climbing skills has helped me immensely on steep terrain on other mountains I have climbed. I never intended to lead climb rock or ice, but rather felt the need for a higher comfort level in exposed situations.
If it's within your means, hire a guide service such as IME or EMS right in North Conway - you can start with a basic ice lesson on an easy route such as Arethusa Falls or Cinema Gully and when you feel comfortable, there are some great alpine climbs in Huntington ravine - Pinnacle and Damnation come to mind as well as shoestring gully in Crawford Notch. The skills learned on these climbs - front pointing, french technique, international technique, 1 and 2 tool axe technique, belaying, basic knots etc are things that you need to learn to tackle more committing climbs.
Once I was comfortable with the above, I signed on for a guided climb on Mount Rainier in WA. Rainier is 14,411 ft with a 9000 ft elevation gain from base to summit. Most guided trips are 2-4 days. I chose the 2 day - which is not the most enjoyable way to do it. I actually was part of a fundraising event called the Climb for Clean Air and I completed this 3 times gaining invaluable glacier travel as well as experience at altitude. The upper half of the mountain is completely glaciated and your guides will teach some crevasse rescue and rope team travel skills.
Having Mckinley as an eventual goal, I continued on with 2 guided winter trips on the mountaineers route on Mount Whitney (14495') - This route in the winter is quite a challenging steep alpine climb - we travelled in rope teams on summit day for safety and fixed 3-4 rope lengths on the last 600 or so feet to the summit due to the consequences of a fall. This climb was a good next step.
Following this, I felt nearly ready for Mckinley and took a winter mountaineering 5 day course back on Rainier - learning fixed line ascension, snow cave building, in depth crevasse rescue and pulley rigging and other cold weather camping skills.
From this base, I signed on for a Mckinley trip in 07,(ours and every other team in early July were turned around by bad weather between 16-17k ft) and I'm returning again this June.
This is the progression that worked well for me. I don't have any friends who climb, so I'm relegated to guided trips. Big mountains and solo glacier travel don't go well together, so make sure you have some strong experienced partners or go the guided route.
Also - pick up a copy of "Mountaineering - Freedom of the Hills" the climbers bible.
Good Luck
Tim

TrishandAlex
03-19-2009, 09:43 AM
Climbabout, thanks for posting your progression. That info is very helpful.

Brad
03-19-2009, 09:54 AM
Wonderful information.

MelNino
03-19-2009, 10:14 AM
I'd like to do Katahdin this summer, if I can get the time off....I have a buddy who plans to do it for her bday, via Knife edge...I hope the weather will favor her hike.

MechAeroE
03-19-2009, 01:57 PM
Tim,
Thanks for the advice, and I already have that book and am working my way through it.

mtruman
03-19-2009, 10:06 PM
Ha, evertime I read about mountianeering (rereading 'No Shortcuts to the Top'....need more books) I get the urge to start training to do more than a hike up.


Get any of Dave Roberts books (co-author of No Shortcuts). They are all really great reads and are largely focused on climbing in Alaska rather than the usual Himalayan fare (not that reading about Everest isn't great as well). His latest mountaineering book is "On the Ridge Between Life and Death" and is a life retrospective. Some of his older work like "Deborah" and "The Mountain of my Fear" are out of print I think but you can probably still find used copies.

Tar Heel
03-22-2009, 03:18 PM
Hey, there is a list of about 54 peaks here in Colorado that they say can be somewhat challenging (as well as a bunch more under 14K that I prefer)

do you have any links to websites that talk about these mountains in colorado? i would love to get out to co at some point and do some hiking but have no idea about any of the mtns there

mtruman
03-22-2009, 04:06 PM
do you have any links to websites that talk about these mountains in colorado? i would love to get out to co at some point and do some hiking but have no idea about any of the mtns there

Here's a good place to start: http://www.14ers.com/

And a couple from hikers:
http://www.theronwelch.com/mountains/fourteeners/14ers.htm
http://www.rexheadd.com/colorado/14ers/index.html

Bill O
03-22-2009, 05:01 PM
I'd recommend a guide book if you actually make it out to Colorado.

You have a lot of options for climbs. Many 14er's are relatively easy walk-ups. Others offer great spring and early summer snow climbs or world class climbing routes. Also some great scrambling routes that don't require ropes, but will make you wish you had one.