/ getting started

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mjason - on 26 Aug 2012
I want to start climbing mountains but I'm confused by all the courses out there. Where do I start? I don't know who I should go with?

Many thanks
JimboWizbo - on 26 Aug 2012
In reply to mjason: We need more information. Where do you want to climb? Which mountains? How do you want to climb them? Some mountain routes require just hiking to reach the summit, some require many skills and lots of experience.
nik king - on 26 Aug 2012
In reply to mjason: Dont bother with a course. Spend your money on a map, compass and a pair of boots. There are some brilliant single day outings in both North Wales and the Lakes.
John_Hat - on 26 Aug 2012
In reply to JimboWizbo:
> (In reply to mjason) We need more information. Where do you want to climb? Which mountains? How do you want to climb them?

Agreed. let us know what you want to do and we can work from there.

highclimber - on 26 Aug 2012
In reply to nik king:
> (In reply to mjason) Dont bother with a course. Spend your money on a map, compass and a pair of boots. There are some brilliant single day outings in both North Wales and the Lakes.

That's brilliant advice. now I understand why Llanberis Mountain Rescue had over 180 incidents last year!
JimboWizbo - on 26 Aug 2012
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to nik king)
> [...]
>
> That's brilliant advice. now I understand why Llanberis Mountain Rescue had over 180 incidents last year!

And over a hundred incidents of hikers wearing only boots and a compass round their neck terrorising the locals.
nik king - on 26 Aug 2012
In reply to highclimber:
It might sound like flippant advice but for me mountains and climbing are about freedom and taking responsabilty for your own actions. Even if that is naturist rambling. (image of Sid James cackling away is now clouding my mind)
highclimber - on 26 Aug 2012
In reply to nik king: whist agree that mountaineering is about freedom, that freedom only comes from knowing your own limitations.
professionalwreckhead - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to mjason:

Ask everyone you know if anyone they know likes to go hill walking/hiking etc. It shouldn't be too hard to find someone, even a friend of a friend will do.

Then tell that person you're interested in getting up mountains and would they mind you coming along one day. Offer to buy a few beers and split petrol.

It's worth checking that it's not their first time up a mountain too though!

I've had lots of friends/colleagues come with us on the odd weekend trip, many who haven't been near a mountain in their lives. It's a pretty amazing feeling (for both them and me!) when they reach the top of their first big hill.

Then just take it from there.

Don't go spending loads of cash on kit until you work out what you want to do (walking/climbing etc), where you want to do it (surrey hills or the Cuillin) and when you want to do it (summer or winter).

If you can borrow a pair of boots that fit well, then great. Otherwise some boots and a waterproof jacket are likely to be your first purchases. There's no point in buying a map and compass until you know what to do with it (it's not difficult, but you'd benefit from someone experienced showing you what to do). The only thing a map is good for if you don't have map reading skills, is to hold over your head to shelter from the rain whilst you wait for MRT at dusk after getting lost :-)
mjason - on 27 Aug 2012
Yep. Apologies. I should've included more information. I have done some hill walking in the Peak district and Wales. I've done the three peaks challenge. Ideally I'd like to move up in climbing difficulty from where I am to where ever I can. I'd like to do some alpine climbs. Mont Blanc is on the list of mountains to climb. I'd like to move up to bigger mountains in the future like Aconcagua but I only want to attempt harder mountains once I'm ready. I have walking boots and a walking jacket.

Many thanks for all the replies
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HenryJM - on 27 Aug 2012
In reply to mjason: The tricky thing you need is a climbing partner with similar aspirations. It helps (but not essential) if they are more experienced so you can learn from them. But i think my most major piece of advice would be to start slowly and build your knowledge base from there. I would see Mnt Blanc as the culmination of 2-3 years of learning and trips. You need to get very competent at navigation, glacier travel, movement on snow, ice and probably low grade rock climbs (it depends on the mountain). You would need to improve your wild camping skills and knowledge of looking after yourself in the high mountains. A lot of these skills can be learnt in here in blighty (get yourself to the Black Cuillin on Skye) but obviously you will need several Alps trips as well. And of course you will have to invest in a fair amount of kit (get back on this forum for many opinions on that subject!). If you want to do a few course to give you a jump start, then email Plas y Brenin or Glenmore lodge (the national mountaineering centres), explain what you ambitions are and they will be able to guide you to the right course for you.
This might all sound a bit daunting and the easy route is to drive to Chamonix, hire a guide and take the first lift up. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this and many folk get a lot of satisfaction this way, but it feels a lot a bigger achievement when done off you own back and you attain a summit with someone in partnership rather than as a client.
Good luck with your ambition and enjoy becoming a Mountaineer, because its going to change your life!

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