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First go at High alt./Alpine technical mountaineering... any ideas??

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 Jshaw04 12:15 Wed

Turning 21 next year and would like to have a go at planning something a bit epic like a big trip for my first alpine adventure.

I've got plenty experience at mountain navigation and skills in the UK summer/winter and I've also got a fair few Scottish winter hill walking/climbing trips behind me. 

Thought about the vintage first high alt. of Kilimanjaro for its far away nature but I wasn't quite sure the large guided and catered for group was what I had in mind and I'm drawing blanks.

Looking for something fairly technically challenging, abroad and preferably high up. Also ideally something that can be done alpine style with a small group or one on one with a guide. 

Any ideas??

 JLS 13:12 Wed
In reply to Jshaw04:

>"I've got plenty experience at mountain navigation and skills in the UK summer/winter and I've also got a fair few Scottish winter hill walking/climbing trips behind me."

This might fit the bill...

Technical but not too technical, objectively safe so if you don't trip over your crampons while scrambling up the harder bits you'll probably survive....

https://www.summitpost.org/weissmies-se-ridge/651420

 Pero 13:31 Wed
In reply to Jshaw04:

The Alps has hundreds of routes that you could do with a partner or guide. With good weather you can knock off up to half a dozen in a successful trip. 

That said, if you have no alpine experience, you need to start easy and work up. Something like the Gran Paradiso or the Weissmies is a good place to start. Although  even then you may want to acclimatise with a peak or two under 4000.

Peru is great, but 6000m could be a risk if you're completely untested at altitude.

 ExiledScot 13:58 Wed
In reply to Jshaw04:

How many graded winter climbs have you done? 

 Toerag 14:50 Wed
In reply to Pero:

> Although  even then you may want to acclimatise with a peak or two under 4000.

> Peru is great, but 6000m could be a risk if you're completely untested at altitude.

^^ this. There's not a lot you can do about your resistance to altitude, so it's best to find that out before trying technical climbing at altitude.

 Howard J 15:14 Wed
In reply to Jshaw04:

A good grounding in the British hills is important, but Alpine climbing requires some additional techniques and different approaches, and of course there is the matter of acclimatisation to the altitude. For your first trip I'd suggest focussing on acquiring skills rather than simply going for routes and summits. Try going on a course, or hire a guide who understands that you want to learn and not just be led up and down mountains. That will give you a good basis for future unguided trips, and will save you time and money in the long run.

The Jonathan Conville Trust runs subsidised courses for under-30s but you're now too late for this year.

In reply to Jshaw04:

Our mountains here only hover around 1300m at most so why not have a look at eastern Europe and look at their summits at around 2500 to 3000.

The Cuillin is a great training ground for the alps Go research Orla Perc in the Tatra mountains on the Polish side. The Gerlach on the Slovakian side has some wonderful routes on it and it's very quiet.

 Darron 23:20 Wed
In reply to Jshaw04:

Get very, very fit and go for it.

2
 McHeath 00:16 Thu
In reply to Darron:

> Get very, very fit and go for it.

Not much use if you’ve no idea about how to get your mate out of a crevasse 

 OP Jshaw04 00:29 Thu
In reply to ExiledScot:

Not a great amount would say half a dozen or so as have been on only a few winter trips for climbing as most have been for winter hillwalking etc... but have done some nice gulleys and a bit of mixed in the cairngorms. Definitely cannot claim to be very skilled but I can make a decent second without much worry. Looking for some more scrambly terrain as well as maybe some very easy climbing.

Really looking for a trip where I can learn the ropes and improve as well as hopefully have a few good achievements and a bit of an adventure.

 OP Jshaw04 00:32 Thu
In reply to JLS:

Had a flick through the page and tell you what that looks great mate. Not to high, relatively low splat factor, abroad and techish enough to be a bit tasty.

Definitely made the shortlist!

 OP Jshaw04 00:37 Thu
In reply to Pero:

Thanks for the suggestion mate, not being familiar with the alps its handy to get a good start to dive into a rabbit hole about. Gran Paradiso looks like a brilliant one that's getting short listed for sure. Definitely could spend some more time out there and hang about the foot hills a bit and see how I do with the altitude. Also I think I have a mountain guide friend nearby which could definitely come in handy.

 OP Jshaw04 00:39 Thu
In reply to Toerag:

Yeah I totally agree there I think if I'm already pushing myself technically best not push myself in height at the same time or vice versa.

 OP Jshaw04 00:43 Thu
In reply to Howard J:

> The Jonathan Conville Trust runs subsidised courses for under-30s but you're now too late for this year.

Thats okay it would be for next year or even the year after! I'll look into this for sure. Being able to do self sufficient unguided alpine routes is a bit of a dream for me so this time round I'll be looking to learn as much as I can while hopefully having a bit of an adventure. As someone with no alpine experience im sure ill be blown away by almost anything remotely exciting I will be doing.

Cheers for the info on the trust again.

 OP Jshaw04 00:47 Thu
In reply to olddirtydoggy:

Nice one mate, I'll have a read into it and from the sounds of it this fits the bill perfectly. I do agree as well that it won't take me more than half a kilometre into the sky to get my kicks just looking for a nice adventure in some new terrain.

 OP Jshaw04 00:48 Thu
In reply to McHeath:

That would certainly be a bit awkward

 ExiledScot 07:41 Thu
In reply to Jshaw04:

I'd suggest not to try and fast track everything, chasing height, grades, epic adventures etc... enjoy the progression get your uk mileage in, all weathers winter and summer, learn to navigate as well (it's an essential that could save your life), learn and perfect your ropework.... then progression in the alps: 3000m will feel exciting if you've never been before, but it's also often manageable without a guide, once learnt the basics. This will likely be more regarding than seconding a slightly more technical 4000m peak with a guide, and much cheaper! 

 Tib 10:16 Thu
In reply to Jshaw04:

So I think you should aim for doing some Alpine hut to hut treks, or base yourself somewhere where you can easily get high then back to where you are staying. Some of the passes are over 3000m. Find a quiet area the Alps cover a large area, theres loads of places you can go and not trip over countless guides and others climbing. 

By trekking/hiking there you'll understand more the weather patterns and the scale of the mountains. Scotland is good preparation but expect to be ascending a hard gradient for much, much longer and above 1500m altitude does come into play. Dont worry about the height of any mountain you ascend they all make the uk ones (great and fantastic though they are) feel like hills and it's about you having a good experience not about a checklist. 

If you do go to a summit it's really important to get up really early so you can be down off the top well before lunch. There are myriad reasons for this and you should know them all. Check the weather as always but you should be used to this as you must do this in Scotland. For glacier travel and most summits,  as others have said you must be able to do crevasse rescue and have the right equipment to do so. Crampon obviously but ice screws as well, ropes, harnesses, protection and not forgetting the most important thing a helmet.  

Travel light is for professionals just take what you need the more you do the more you know what you can ditch. Dont drink untreated water (take tablets or filtration) often carries shigella bacteria my mate did last year and was seriously Ill for days. 

I still find the scale of the alps pretty intimidating and it should be said that they are dangerous.  I had a small slide last year, outcome would not have been fatal had I not self arrested but I bounced off a rock and sliced my leg open. Luckily I took a decent first aid kit to pull it together (steri strips are great) until I got back down to medical assistance 36 hours later. 

And I wish I was 21 I have trekked and hiked all my life but didn't start mountaineering till my mid 40s so you have loads of time to get the skill set you need! And yes get really fit you'll enjoy it more!

Hope that helps! 

In reply to Jshaw04:

Mount Kenya fits that bill.

1
 Rick Graham 12:09 Thu
In reply to Jshaw04:

> Turning 21 next year and would like to have a go at planning something a bit epic like a big trip for my first alpine adventure.

> Any ideas??

If its your first go, make sure its not your last go !

In reply to olddirtydoggy:

> The Cuillin is a great training ground for the alps 

I am unsure on OPs entire ability from the post but I wouldn’t disparage the Cuillin as being a “training ground”. Cuillin in certain parts is treacherous when wet, and route finding/nav really difficult when vis is low (which it frequently is). There are lots of caveats to mountaineering with moving together and protecting areas, rather a linear belay to belay with winter/rock climbing. Apologies for the tangent! 
 

@OP I done my first trip as Pollux with a guide in Swiss Alps. 4000m+, glacier travel, great roped, scramble (cannot recall grade), airy traverse, then a snow ridge to the summit. I’d recommend it as a good intro. There are others that are essentially slow slogs so be sure to read into the routes/Youtube them before committing money for a guide - you want bang for your buck.

Hope you find something and have a great time!



 

 McHeath 18:26 Thu
In reply to Jshaw04:

Don’t rush it! Several 4000ers have been suggested here, and they’d all be great and probably well within your physical capabilities.  But there are two major aspects which are impossible to train in the UK: 1. Acclimatization. You’ll need to do at least one, better two or three peaks at +/- 3500m to let your body adjust before you go for the big ones. And 2: knowledge of crevasse rescue techniques and glacier travel isn’t enough, you need to have practiced it a bit (it isn’t rocket science). 

So the way to do it would probably be to do a maybe 5 day Alpine basics course, you’ll learn a ton and will then have a great foundation for independent expeditions (and the courses are fun!). Even better if you can find someone with similar ambitions with whom you could team up with, first for the course and then to put it into practice directly afterwards. 
 

Making the transition from scrambling to actual climbing, knowing how to set up protection and a belay etc, would also stand you in very good stead. Have fun, I wish you much success and enjoyment!

1
In reply to Jshaw04:

Don't rush it would be my advice.  My first Alpine climb back in the late 60's was too hard for a first Alpine route even though there was not a pitch on it that was beyond my technical abilities but the shear scale of it was overwhelming. It put me off Alpine climbing for a couple of years.  When I got back into it and treated it with the respect it deserves I got on much better.

In reply to Jshaw04:

I will never get Kilimanjaro as an attractive mountain to climb when we have the Alps right next door. Yes it's high and I'm sure it's a lovely walk, but Cheryl Cole has got up there..it just doesn't seem that much of a challenge to me (although I'm happy to admit I can be wrong). 

I think you'd get far far more from an experience in the Alps. Grand Paradiso, Signalkuppe, the Weissmies etc are great places to start.

Hiring a guide to show you the ropes would be a very wise investment and you'd learn loads in that time

 McHeath 01:04 Fri
In reply to James Harker:

> I will never get Kilimanjaro as an attractive mountain to climb when we have the Alps right next door

100% this

> Hiring a guide to show you the ropes would be a very wise investment and you'd learn loads in that time

I don’t think so; firstly a guide is damned expensive, and secondly he’s being paid to get you up and back down again as safely and as fast as possible; no time for explanations or lessons, you simply follow him. Go for a course.

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 McHeath 01:14 Fri
In reply to Tom Ripley Mountain Guide:

> Mount Kenya fits that bill.

You must surely mean the satellite peak of Point Lenana? The main peaks involve rock climbing at a standard way above what the OP’s had experience of.

 ExiledScot 06:33 Fri
In reply to McHeath:

>  secondly he’s being paid to get you up and back down again as safely and as fast as possible; no time for explanations or lessons, you simply follow him. Go for a course.

You just hire the right guide and speak to them before hand. 

Some native local operators in zermatt or chamonix maybe like you describe, their business model is you pay to summit, meet them in the hut where they'll switch clients daily staying there for a week.

But many others will literally do anything and flex the day to suit a person's ability and the weather. Plus change plans as you develop slower or quicker. A guide is effectively a mountain instructor only in alpine terrain, they are quite capable of teaching a person as much knowledge as their client is able to soak up. Plenty british guys and girls out there right now who'd be happy to help anyone tailor a plan. 

 McHeath 08:48 Fri
In reply to ExiledScot:

Yep, you’re right; I suppose what I meant was that learning the minimum of what you need to know to start being independent takes more than a day, and for what you’d pay for a single day 1:1 with a guide you could get a 5 day course.

1
In reply to McHeath:

Sorry I meant a guide that provides more of a course over a week or so covering all the basics, rather than someone who is going to just run you up and down a route. Although I admit nowadays it's probably not cheap, but I think worth it in the long run.


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