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Im a 20 year old college student This summer i took a trip to yellowstone and the grand tetons, i didnt do much climbing at all. But i am really really interested in mountaineering and i have read a few books on it. The problem is i live in san antonio, texas. Are there any good cheap mountaineering schools? Or are there any good beginner expeditions on challenging mountains? What are some other good ways to getting into mountaineering based on my location?

-- adam emmons (, December 01, 2003


Hey Adam.......... I'm in the same position as you, and before I get started into an answer, all I can say is , man, Welcome ( to you and other alike ) to the world of the vertical! I think it's fatastic you're motivated to take it up.

While I've still got many questions of my own on the basics levels ( I just started taking steps into my climbing career last year ) I do know about some good ways to get the ball rolling.

1. Start a good, SOLID workout routine, if you haven't done so already. Get yourself into as best physical condition as you can. Combine both sustained cardio-vasc activity as well as strength and muscle conditioning. Three things to remember about workouts: Stick to it, Stick to it,...and....STICK TO IT! Too many folks easily slump from a regular workout program, and as a new mountaineer, this will be a VITAL element to your success and enjoyment of climbing.

2. Locate the nearest ROCK CLIMBING GYM to you, if there IS one not too far away ( I'd hope San Antonio would have one, of course ), and talk membership deals with them. Start implementing a climbing routine into your regular workout regimen (i.e. once / twice a week ), and get yourself familiar with the ups and downs of the business. If they hold classes, by all means, sign up for one, and get some good instruction that way.

3. Begin to gradually acquire the gear needed. You'll of course need the basics for the rock gym ( Harness, shoes, chalk/bag, caribiner, belay device ) As far as advanced gear from here?......a good alpine rucksack would be the next good item to invest in, and from there you can add items as per the level of difficulty of your ( next, and/or upcoming ) real-world expedition(s).

Well....there you have it from me, and that brings me to about where I'm at now in my career. I've completed my first climb already, which I deliberately made more of a trekking peak rather than a technical climb ( although I DID do some tech, free-climbing on this mountain ), and now I'm looking to move up a notch ( or 2, or 3 or 4!!) to some solid alpine, but I'm looking to do THAT with a guide service where I can both complete my next level of climb, PLUS gain some valuable instruction from professionals.

One last thing......I mentioned all these steps from the standpoint of someone on a definate shoestring budget. This can be an expensive racket, however, you CAN make it work a step at time, and by tking the smart, common-sense approach to getting yourself truly ready to handle the big stuff.....which is what I'm working towards in the years ahead.

God Bless, and see you on the heights!

Ken Smith

-- Ken Smith (, February 08, 2004.

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