Starting Mountaineering : LUSENET : Mountaineering : One Thread

Good evening, This Fall(November)my roommate and are planning on climbing a mountian, for are first time. We have been looking at either; Pico Orizabal(Glacier de Jamapa) in Veracruz,Mexico. or Mt. Shuksan(Price Glacier) in Washing ton, Usa. Or Mount Sir Donald (northwest Arete) British Columbia, Canada. Are these good climbs to start out on or are there better ones. If you have any beta on these like gear to bring and what to expect we would enjoy it. Thanks for your Time Robert

-- Robert Hecker (, February 03, 1999


Robert. Granted this is only my opinion, but I'd start with something close to home for the first one. I'd hate to travel to Mexico only to not suceed and feel bad because it cost a lot of money to get there.

I'd start with something like Mt Baker in the North Cascades (WA-USA). It's only about 10,600 ft, but is know for it's extensive glaciers. Also depending on what route you climb, you may not see too many other folks. It's a fun climb and one that's not too committing (if such a thing exists). I've climbed this twice and think it's a great introduction to mountaineering. A mountain that if you and your friend find yourselves in over your head it's still not too extreme for a quick retreat.

I'd use the first one as a test for your equipment and your relationship with your friend. See how both of these handle lite stress, then gradually work your way up. If you live in the northwest, you might find yourself pleased with how you did on Baker and want to head to Shuksan, Ranier or some other mtn close by later in the year.

November is getting kind of late for the NW, but you probably know that. Be safe and have a great time know matter where you decide to go. If you want info on the route I've been on send me an email.

Good Climbing.

-- Mike (, February 06, 1999.

So you're just starting out, eh? Here's what I did for my first experience above 10,000 feet. I flew out to Portland, OR and started up Mt. Hood at midnight, summitted, descended, ate lunch in the lodge, drove to Mt. Adams across the Columbia River in Washington, and summitted and descended Mt. Adams, all within 24 hours. Mt. Hood is 11,235 feet, and Adams is 12,276 feet. Granted, both routes were the south side routes, which are the "donkey trails", but they were my first real mountains and they'll save you a lot of heartache if you don't summit, being cheap to get to and all. There's plenty others to do out here (I live in Washington now); email direct if you want further beta.

Be safe and climb smart.


-- Paul Soboleski (, February 07, 1999.

PS: November is NOT the time to be doing Shuksan, or any *first* mountain climb in the Cascades. Expect DEEEEEP snow, bring skis & skins or snowshoes, and prepare to get blown off just about everything you try. Also, the venerable Fred Beckey writes in his Cascade Alpine Guide that the Price Glacier route on Shuksan is a Grade III-IV, requiring technical snow and ice equipment (and the knowledge to use it). Expect some technical ice climbing and learn about avalanches, or go do something more within your abilities.

-- Paul Soboleski (, February 09, 1999.

Great question Robert. I just started mountaineering several months ago and I absolutely love it! When I was planning my first ascents I read all the books and techniques and thought I was ready as hell to climb Reineer until I nearly collapsed on a snowshoe hike in the Rockies. After that I reassesed my goals and figured that I should get to know my local mountains and test out gear on them (instead of the Liberty Ridge). I've only done 12k foot peaks so far but I feel like I've learned a lot more from simple day-long tips into couloirs than I would have after a disapointing, long-distance trip. Practice close to home first and unless you want to solo a 5.14a try to use common sense.

-- Dmitriy Zinchenko (, August 03, 2000.

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