What is Mountaineering?
Mountaineering is the pastime of the more adventurous outdoor type; it is a hobby or sport that involves climbing, trekking or hiking up mountains in order to reach the top. Some see this as a dangerous pastime but for many it is exhilarating and a test of one’s endurance as well as pitting man against the elements of nature.
There are many different conditions in which an individual can mountaineer; they include:
Some people like to climb mountains that are covered in snow which adds an extra element of excitement to the whole process. Whilst climbing up a snow covered mountain a mountaineer may encounter open crevasses which have been carved out of the rock over thousands of years. In addition hard snow – or neve as it is called – and ice give added traction and grip when climbing.
Normally if climbing or passing over glacial mountains mountaineers operate in teams of between two and five members using ropes, the distance between each mountaineer equally spaced. This is something that is fraught with its own perils as again glaciers are prone to crevasses which can be covered over with snow. However as opposed to the crevasses being horizontal as they are when climbing up a rock face, they are vertical when attempting glacial mountaineering and the resulting steep vertical drops are potentially life threatening.
When mountaineering it is important to have the right equipment. It is also important to remember that at high altitudes the temperature drops so therefore keeping warm is of the utmost importance.
Here are just a few of the items required:
- Bivvy (one man tent and sleeping bag)
- Snow shoes
- Crampons (Spikes which attach to a climber’s boots)
- First Aid Kit
- Waterproof clothing
As with all outdoor activities there is an element of risk involved and mountaineering is no exception. There are many hazards associated with the sport and here are just a few:
- Falling rock
There are many mountaineering groups and clubs throughout Great Britain who operate mountaineering breaks both in the United Kingdom and on rock faces abroad. Before you can participate on any of these climbs you must reach a level of competency that is acceptable in order to maintain both your own safety and the safety of those in the group with you.
Your local Yellow Pages and Tourist Information Centre will be able to provide you with information on Mountaineering Clubs in your area.
These holidays also include time spent familiarising yourself with the rock face that the group intends to climb. You may also receive some further training on an artificial rock face before your holiday begins in earnest.
Can I Go on a Mountaineering Holiday?
You can if you are over the age of thirteen and you can demonstrate the required level of competency and attention to safety procedures. Again this is why many Mountaineering clubs offer a series of lessons before the holiday begins so that you may become familiar and accustomed to the techniques and procedures used.
If however you suffer from a medical ailment – regardless of how minor you might consider it to be – you must consult your GP beforehand and have a clean bill of health.