Wannabe alpinist

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I've been interested in alpinism for quite some time and decided a year or two ago I was going to take it up when I had some time and money. I live in the Bay Area, am 27, in quite good cardio shape, have some rock experience and quite a bit of 3rd and some 4th class peak scrambling under my belt. What sort of steps do I need to take to get to the next level? I'm thinking about starting with rock, going to Ironworks or some such gym, working out and climbing, then trying to find someone to teach me trad rock climbing. I've also been looking at maybe taking a 5-10 day class with the American Alpine Institute to learn the basics.

My goal is to eventually go to Chamonix and climb some hard classics. The Shroud or Walker Spur on the Grandes Jorasses and the Geravasutti (sp?) pillar on Mont Blanc Du Tacul are two routes I'd love to get up. Any advice would be most appreciated!

Cheers, D.

-- Darren (drs925@mindspring.com), August 24, 2001


find someone to get out with, practice moving together on hard scrambles (alpine stuff needs speed) and keep fit. You don't need to climb super hard on most classic routes in Europe (5.9 will see you fine, 5.8 in big boots is about right). Get out on lower stuff close to you, long snow climbs and the like to get technique sorted out and have fun!

If you find it hard to meet people, do a course which will teach you quick how to do things but experience is much more important in the mountains than pure technical ability and knowledge.

Take it easy, and be careful. read as much as you can!

Oh, and if you're impatient, do what i did my first alpine season; (i was climbing well and winter grade 3 wasn't a problem) fly out to chamonix (or the US equivalent) and pick up a partner in the camp site there. In Cham there are loads of people in the bars looking for people to go out with, go!


Andrew H

-- Andrew Huddart (ahuddart@yahoo.com), September 02, 2001.

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