Preparing for Your Mountaineering Trip
Mountaineering requires not only a high level of will power, but an incredible level of physical strength to do. While beginners may stick to low laying routes and only mildly steep ascents, advanced climbers ascending to the world’s highest peaks need lots of stamina and strength. The better shape you are in, the easier your climb will be.
There are numerous ways to train and prepare. Walking and jogging are excellent ways to train, but the single best pieces of exercise equipment are the stair stepper or elliptical machine. Improving your leg strength are what these machines do best, even more so than walking. Spend half an hour each day on these and you will be much better off during your hike. Exercise bikes are helpful as well.
Climbing schools are the expert’s choice for preparation. Before ascending the world’s highest mountains, a training session that teaches you about safety, altitude, health, technical skills, and fitness in regards to climbing saves lives. Often the schools last several weeks; much of the time will be spent ascending a high peak of some sort.
In high altitudes it is wise to spend a day or two just doing easy walking to acclimatize. Otherwise a day into your trip you might start feeling the effects of altitude sickness - nausea, headaches, and vomiting - that can abruptly cut your climb short.
The idea behind packing for a mountaineering trip is to keep it as light as possible but be as possibly prepared as you can be. It’s a tricky situation. Pack too much and it is too heavy and you will burn too much energy. Pack too little and you could be in danger. New technologies have allowed fabrics and gear to become lighter and warmer, making hiking easier and easier. When every ounce of weight counts, high tech gear can give you an advantage by weighing less and keeping you warmer.
Top of the line equipment is never cheap in any sport, though. You can now find quality hiking gear and equipment all over the globe, although prices tend to be higher outside of the western world. You will find the same equipment, the same brands, and the same services as your favorite shops back home in many cases.
A good part of your climbing equipment you will be familiar with such as clothes, socks, jackets, tents, and a sleeping bag. There is some variation though. Tents need to be small and able to withstand incredible winds. You sleeping bag needs to be warmer than the outside conditions. Even if yours is thick, in minus 20 degrees you need a bag that can withstand the cold.
For technical climbs there is a large assortment of other gear that is necessary and it varies form peak to peak depending on conditions: an internal frame backpack where you can fit all your food and gear as well as some group supplies, an ice axe, crampons, trekking poles, helmet, harness, and rope. Sunglasses, or glacier glasses, are incredibly important as well to ward off the intense rays of the sun that reflect off of the snow. Speak with your tour operator beforehand to determine exactly what you will need to bring. Again, every mountain is different.