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How do you REALLY get into alpinism?
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Durin


Dec 23, 2011, 10:47 PM
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How do you REALLY get into alpinism?
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When I wanted to learn to climb trad and walls, I bought a Supertopo and spent two months in camp 4. Came out a lot more experienced with trad, understood how to climb walls...etc.

Where does one go to find the same scene for alpinism?


eric_k


Dec 24, 2011, 2:14 AM
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Since on most Alpine climbs the commitment is a bit higher than on el cap I don't know that just flying out to the ruth glacier and expecting to pick up a few skills will work.

I have found, especially when you are looking into bigger objectives like AK, finding partners with the same motivation, understanding of risk and skill level to be the most difficult. If you can find a good partner who is willing to train like crazy, and drop everything to go climb because there is a weather window, the rest will fall in place.

If you are curious about equipment or other stuff realted to alpine climbing this is a great website if you have not found it yet.
http://www.coldthistle.blogspot.com/

Eric


cclarke


Dec 24, 2011, 4:56 AM
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You could try Frey in January. There are many good granite spires and you can meet people to go to more remote locations for more alpine climbing.


marc801


Dec 24, 2011, 9:13 AM
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Durin wrote:
When I wanted to learn to climb trad and walls, I bought a Supertopo and spent two months in camp 4. Came out a lot more experienced with trad, understood how to climb walls...etc.

Where does one go to find the same scene for alpinism?
Chamonix,


edge


Dec 24, 2011, 1:56 PM
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marc801 wrote:
Durin wrote:
When I wanted to learn to climb trad and walls, I bought a Supertopo and spent two months in camp 4. Came out a lot more experienced with trad, understood how to climb walls...etc.

Where does one go to find the same scene for alpinism?
Chamonix,

This is correct...


panacea82


Dec 24, 2011, 3:13 PM
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You go out and climb mountains.


Durin


Dec 24, 2011, 6:05 PM
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Do any of you have any suggestions within Chamonix? Places to stay, hangout...etc. The campground I stayed at lacked climbers, and the only friendly frenchies I met were guides.

Also, where am I best off in US/Canada? Boulder, CO has crappy ice, and I've done a fair amount of the good stuff. Has anyone had better experiences in Banff or Bellingham?

panacea82 wrote:
You go out and climb mountains.

Don't be a jerk.


stagg54


Dec 24, 2011, 9:20 PM
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Chamonix is probably a great place (don't know I havent' been there yet)

but I have been to the Tetons several times. Hang around the climbing ranch for a few weeks and you'll have no problem finding partners.

It's easy access - there's an airport right there. Plus on off days there is plenty of stuff to do.


coastal_climber


Dec 24, 2011, 9:27 PM
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CANADIAN ROCKIES - Mark Twain approved


marc801


Dec 25, 2011, 7:55 AM
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coastal_climber wrote:
CANADIAN ROCKIES - Mark Twain approved
Do you mean Mark Twight?


Durin


Dec 25, 2011, 9:38 AM
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stagg54 wrote:
Hang around the climbing ranch for a few weeks and you'll have no problem finding partners.

coastal_climber wrote:
CANADIAN ROCKIES - Mark Twain approved

I've done Nose-Half Dome linkup in a day, ridge traverses in the Sierras, multiple routes on the Diamond...etc. Alpine rock climbing is not new to me, but mixed ice/rock feels foreign. The Tetons lack many difficult alpine routes, and most of those are summer alpine rock climbs.

Would you suggest Canmore or Banff or some other place for the Canadian Rockies?

Where do most Winter Washington Cascades climbers live?


eric_k


Dec 25, 2011, 11:14 AM
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Durin wrote:
stagg54 wrote:
Hang around the climbing ranch for a few weeks and you'll have no problem finding partners.

coastal_climber wrote:
CANADIAN ROCKIES - Mark Twain approved

I've done Nose-Half Dome linkup in a day, ridge traverses in the Sierras, multiple routes on the Diamond...etc. Alpine rock climbing is not new to me, but mixed ice/rock feels foreign. The Tetons lack many difficult alpine routes, and most of those are summer alpine rock climbs.

Would you suggest Canmore or Banff or some other place for the Canadian Rockies?

Where do most Winter Washington Cascades climbers live?

For info on the cascades check http://www.cascadeclimbers.com


daneburns


Dec 25, 2011, 1:11 PM
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Hey Durin, the guys are right, Chamonix. It is what the Valley is to rock climbing. But it is not an easy place to meet partners. Climbing is pretty serious. And the good guys know it. As much done there these days for alpinism Feb through April because of the snow/ice conditions as does in the summer/fall. Last winter half a doze of us from Co./WA/BC/ID spent a couple of months there and had a great time. But it involves renting a apartment and a ski pass as well just to climb. Knew others that were there, Brits and other from the US but it is a tight crowd. Just as it is in Seattle where I live now and Canmore where I have lived in the past.

But no place like Cham to teach you about alpine climbing and skiing...if you go in the winter and spring. I get more climbing in there now than any place in NA..easier access to the alpine and better weather generally than most of the places you have mentioned. Do I need to mention the food and huts? It is not a dirt bag or cheap place to hang but it is spectacular in every other sense.


coastal_climber


Dec 25, 2011, 1:19 PM
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My bad. Mark Twight. Canmore is most central.


daneburns


Dec 25, 2011, 1:29 PM
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Canmore is decent. Locals freindly enough and easy to meet folks on the many easy accesed waterfalls and Hafner or other dry tools areas.

You can get really good at water ice and hard mixed. Alpinism? Not so much as the weather is generally terrible in the mtns and access is tough year around.

Alpinism is in Canada during winter is hard and generally dangerious because of the snow pack. Much easier in every respect in Cham imo. But it is all snow, weather and conditon dependant. The trams just make is easier to get on and off things.


(This post was edited by daneburns on Dec 25, 2011, 1:45 PM)


irregularpanda


Dec 25, 2011, 1:31 PM
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Durin wrote:
Do any of you have any suggestions within Chamonix? Places to stay, hangout...etc. The campground I stayed at lacked climbers, and the only friendly frenchies I met were guides.

Also, where am I best off in US/Canada? Boulder, CO has crappy ice, and I've done a fair amount of the good stuff. Has anyone had better experiences in Banff or Bellingham?

panacea82 wrote:
You go out and climb mountains.

Don't be a jerk.


Actually, that's decent advice. Get a friend with similar or more experience to you and go buy freedom of the hills.

Anywhere in washington is a GREAT place to live and learn how to be a mountaineer (eventually harder alpine stuff). Start with easy stuff: Mt st helens, Mt hood standard route, Mt Adams on a standard route. Get out with your partner and for 2 weeks prior to the trip practice THE BASICS!!!! Baby steps: self arrest with good form, how to walk with crampons, how to kick steps, how to walk with an ice axe on different aspects, how to give a boot belay. If you practice these skills repetitively, then climb the easier routes, you'll feel ready for Mt Ranier on the Emmons Glacier or The Disappointment Cleaver by the end of the season.

Ask around, you'll meet good alpinists in Bellingham too!


daneburns


Dec 25, 2011, 1:56 PM
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Ha, Ha, the Cascades? I've lived in them all my climbing career. And there is some simply amazing climbing here, that sledom gets done by comparison. Banff's and Canmore's weather is "sweet" if you have lived in both. Not so sweet here on the west side of the state. When it is good here the climbing can rival even Canmore...but good is a realtive term.

Even Colin Haley who grew up here, and still praises th Cascades left as soon as he got a driver's license. He hangs in Patagonia (to climb) and Cham (for recreation) these days. Take a look at his blog for a reference. It is all about conditions here and the conditions are tough. It rains a lot. You might have heard, we get some snow during winter. But a hard freeze and good weather? Seldom.


Edvin


Dec 25, 2011, 2:18 PM
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Durin wrote:
Do any of you have any suggestions within Chamonix? Places to stay, hangout...etc. The campground I stayed at lacked climbers, and the only friendly frenchies I met were guides.

Also, where am I best off in US/Canada? Boulder, CO has crappy ice, and I've done a fair amount of the good stuff. Has anyone had better experiences in Banff or Bellingham?

panacea82 wrote:
You go out and climb mountains.

Don't be a jerk.

When did you go? The whole valley is crawling with climbers in the summer. Plenty of english guys who it might be easier to hook up with than the French and Italians. Try the campsite in Argentiere, The Monkey Bar in Cham-sud or the Vagabond bar/hostel in Chamonix. Also check the forums at Ukclimbing.com for partners.

But if your after the ice then you should go in the winter or spring. The campsites will be out but the Monkey Bar or The Vagabond should have a few climbers in it. ukclimbing.com could probably also get you some partners. But don't even bother going unless you know how to ski. Walking in winter sucks!

If you want to rent a apartment try cham74.com, in the summer you can usually find a small one for about 4-500 euro a month, in winter... :(


Durin


Dec 25, 2011, 4:20 PM
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Edvin wrote:
Durin wrote:
Do any of you have any suggestions within Chamonix? Places to stay, hangout...etc. The campground I stayed at lacked climbers, and the only friendly frenchies I met were guides.

Also, where am I best off in US/Canada? Boulder, CO has crappy ice, and I've done a fair amount of the good stuff. Has anyone had better experiences in Banff or Bellingham?

panacea82 wrote:
You go out and climb mountains.

Don't be a jerk.

When did you go? The whole valley is crawling with climbers in the summer. Plenty of english guys who it might be easier to hook up with than the French and Italians. Try the campsite in Argentiere, The Monkey Bar in Cham-sud or the Vagabond bar/hostel in Chamonix. Also check the forums at Ukclimbing.com for partners.

But if your after the ice then you should go in the winter or spring. The campsites will be out but the Monkey Bar or The Vagabond should have a few climbers in it. ukclimbing.com could probably also get you some partners. But don't even bother going unless you know how to ski. Walking in winter sucks!

If you want to rent a apartment try cham74.com, in the summer you can usually find a small one for about 4-500 euro a month, in winter... :(

I was in Cham Sept 5-8 of this year. Did the Rebuffat on Aiguille du Midi and another rock route, 16 pitches or so near Aiguille du Peigne. We met a few friendly brits, but they were always partnered up and had plans.

The Rebuffat felt pretty easy after all my Yosemite experience, and we even caught up and had to wait for a guide. However the snow/ice ridge coming out of the cable car station was scary. I tried aluminum crampons instead of steel and they felt super sketchy. I've been on glaciers a few times but they've usually been so small that crevasses aren't a problem. The glacier to the Rebuffat was short and already had a thousand tracks showing where to go. Navigating crevasses and bergschrunds myself still sounds foreign.

I've also done WI5's in Cody, WY, but M5 stuff like Cupcake Corner in Vail seems insecure and sketchy even though it's sport bolted. I felt solid on the Rigid Des by comparison.

I can XC ski well and downhill ski(barely), but don't have a setup right now. Do I need AT skis to navigate Cham in winter or are simple XC touring skis adequate?

Turns out I have a friend who knows where to get an apartment in Cham but he's more of a skier than a climber.


daneburns


Dec 25, 2011, 9:05 PM
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For Cham in winter you'll want AT gear and boots you can ice climb in. Really depends on what you want to be doing. Sking (as a way to travel and access/ get down from climbs) really is a huge part of alpinism. Easy thing to forget. XC gear and skills (unless they are mad skills) won't cut it in Cham. Funky AT gear or less than decent skiing skills will really lower your ability to enjoy the place and stay safe. That was my perspect from my own and several of my partner's skiing ability last winter.

Great place to better you skiing skills though when the new snow will limit the climbing possibilities.

More info here on some of that based on my own Cham experience and skiing in both AT boots and Spantiks.

http://coldthistle.blogspot.com/2011/06/part-2.html

More info on the grand scheme of skiing in Cham and beginner winter climbing there by just doing a "ski" or "Chamonix" search on Cold Thistle.

You've obviously done a ton of stuff on rock and ice. The transition should be easy with a little effort.

The Elevation across the street from of the train station (east side of the road) is a great place to hang, eat and drink during th winter season...but there are so many. The bar/resturant just across the street on the west side is good as well. We found it just depended on what was close to your flat and convenient. Chamonix is really small. It will just take only a day or two to figure out where everything is and where you'll want to hang out, shop, eat and drink.

If you go there to climb in winter you'll want to be close to the Midi tram and the center of town imo for first lift. The Grand Montets is the other entry point into the high mountains and it is just a 15 free bus ride away from town as are most things. Making first lift there without transportation is tough. But you'll want to figure that out as well once you are squared away.


(This post was edited by daneburns on Dec 25, 2011, 9:10 PM)


Colinhoglund


Dec 25, 2011, 9:45 PM
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The Canadian Rockies is a great place to learn alpinism. Winter is when you practice your Ice and mixed skills low down, and in the late spring through early fall you can take those skills up high. There are many, many epic routes that are approachable within a day from the road. I'm not a very experienced alpinist (yet, mostly the Bugaboos), but all it takes is a read through a local guidebook (Check out RMBooks) to know that this is a great alpine centre.


lumineferusother


Dec 26, 2011, 10:41 AM
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What about the Eastern Sierras? I'm hoping to move there in a few years...


rangerrob


Dec 27, 2011, 7:53 AM
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Durin, El Chalten would be waaaaay cheaper tthan Cahmonix to spend a few months in. The problem with alpine climbing of course, is the all the extra gear you need. Not only do you need the rack, but you need the clothing, the boots, the crampons, the tools, the screws, the pickets, the sleeping bag, the bivy bag, the Jetboil.....that's the most limiting factor for someone just starting out.

If you're really serious though. It would cost you about $700, depending on where you are flying from, to get to El Chalten and you can camp for free outside of town. Climbing season runs from October or November through March or April. Lots of climbers camping and living in and around town, often losing and gaining partners multiple times during their stay.

You have to have a tolerance for relentless and extreme wind however.


ex3mist


Jan 7, 2012, 1:37 AM
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I remember watching a documentary about climbing on TV as a child and dreaming to do the same. I guess you just have to meet someone who's doing it one day to realize how easy you can start too.


Durin


Jan 7, 2012, 8:48 AM
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Pulled off a winter ascent of D7 on Jan 5th.

Gotta find bigger mountains than Colorado has to offer...

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