Brand New to Mountaineering Where Do I Start???


Original Post
Andrew LaRue · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

I hiked my first mountain 6.15.2017 in Arizona (Camelback was the name). Since then, I've fallen completely head over heals for the world of mountaineering. I discovered Ed Viesturs and was inspired beyond words. I want to follow in his footsteps: become a guide, and maybe someday summit all 8000 meter peaks without oxygen. However that's not my only goal, I want to become a well rounded mountaineer, and learn literally as much as possible. I currently live in Ohio, not exactly the state for mountaineers. Do you have any advice on pursuing this goal? I just bookmarked all of the AMGA accredited climbing schools/guide programs. I thought maybe taking a course from each one, and seeing which works the best? Do you have better advice? I've come to the understanding that mountaineering can be very expensive, and I just want to receive the best training possible so that when I build a resume to become a guide, I will be a prime candidate. Note: I won't be able too take any courses until at-least next year (2018) Do you have any advice to what I can do here in Ohio to prepare? Thank you! 

P.S. I apologize if my posts seems a little too hyper. I don't want to try and pursue the 8000ers for attention or anything like that, it's really more for personal challenging and I see mountaineering as a way to live my poetic (or spiritual if you will) version of life in a realistic way. (if that makes sense). Thanks everyone! I appreciate any form advice you can give! :)

Jaren Watson · · Boise, Idaho · Joined May 2010 · Points: 1,195

Before incurring the expense of gear and instruction, consider hiking/scrambling easy terrain up a few more mountains and see if you're still as gung ho.

A lot of beautiful places can be accessed with nothing beyond a bit of determination.

That seems like a reasonable point to proceed.

Glad you had such a good experience on the mountain in Arizona.

Mark NH · · 03053 · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 0

Andrew, didn't you post up a while back with some lofty goals? If you're really as gong ho as you seem - move outta the flatlands to the mountains and set realistic expectations for what's achievable. Going from hiking Camelback in AZ to climbing 8000m peaks without oxygen is quite a stretch. Good luck!

s.price · · PS,CO · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 1,038

Do a NOLS course. Move to the mountains. Learn to embrace suffering. 

Andrew LaRue · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Mark, no I didn't make any posts before this one. I've emailed various people, you might have been one of them! I'm just trying to gather as much information and advice as possible!

goingUp · · over here · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 25

buy the book Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills.

and go up everything you can.  if its short, do it several times, or carry way too much weight on purpose.

Gear wise, start with good shoes/boots.  buy gear as needed for the next trip.

dont just run out and take a hundred classes.  That sounds expensive (and to be honest, boring as hell).  Take one or  two, go practice what you learned with who you learned it with.  You will make friends, share stories, learn from each other, and most importantly, learn from doing.  

Most Mountaineering is experience  based.  

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,115

Take my advice, pull down your pants a side on the ice.

  - Sidney Freedman

Mike Palasek · · Columbus, OH · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 0

Andrew, I live in Columbus, lived in Ohio most of my life. Sounds like what you need is mileage. Climb as much as you can. Ohio is a great place to be a mountaineer. We have the NRG, RRG, and Seneca Rocks all within 5 hours from Cbus. You can get ice climbing locally and the Daks and Whites are drivable for week trips. OK, if you want 8000 meter peaks, we're a little shy of that. As far as guiding goes, someone I trained locally just got his SPI. There's a lot you can do right here!

Idaho Bob · · McCall, ID · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 53

Take a look at the programs and courses offered by Yamnuska Mountain School in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.  With the strong US$ right now, they are good value.  They offer a complete variety of courses including rock, ice, glacier travel, mountaineering, etc.  And they will take you to big mountains on their courses.

Mike Palasek · · Columbus, OH · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 0

Advice on what to do right here- go to Vertical Adventures climbing gym in Columbus. There you will meet rock climbers, ice climbers, mountaineers.. You can learn basic climbing skills, learn to belay etc. More experienced climbers can take you under wing. Also hit Ohio spots like Whipps Ledges or Mad River Gorge. Get connected. Ed Viesters started life in Fort Wayne, Indiana. When you can travel, a mountaineering course like Yamnuska would be invaluable. FWIW, Senca Rocks is the highest technical summit east of Devils Tower and they have 2 excellent guide services/schools there. I learned all the technical skills there that I used on my ascents in the Rockies, etc.

Robin S · · OR · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 10

Read all relevant sections of FOTH, as someone previously suggested. Go somewhere with mountains in the 7-11,000 ft range and start by renting gear and climbing with a mentor to make sure you're really into it. Once you're sure you're in love, you can start buying gear (start with boots). 

Eplumer400 · · Cleveland, OH · Joined May 2016 · Points: 80

Where are you in Ohio? I've been looking at getting into mountaineering as well and so if you want a partner for starting out I'd be willing.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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