A Guide to Mountaineering

Mountaineering is a sport that involves climbing a mountain by hiking, climbing, backpacking or walking. Types of mountaineering vary depending on the terrain: rock, snow or ice. It is known as alpinism in Europe, but, whatever you call it, it's the best way to find a hidden mountain vista.

Rock climbing is the easiest type of mountaineering, making it popular among beginners. It's still dangerous, with climbers dealing with avalanches and steep slopes.

Snow and ice climbing is for advanced climbers (and those who don't mind the cold). This is very difficult and dangerous because of glaciers. To climb snow and ice you must be familiar with the various conditions that come along with this type of climbing, as well as the risks involved.

The third type of mountaineering is mixed climbing. This combines rock climbing with snow and ice climbing. Since you never know what to expect, you must be an expert climber. You have to have a variety of gear with you at all times, so that you're prepared for any situation.

Mountaineering equipment is extensive, and what you should bring with you depends on the type of mountaineering you plan on doing. At the very least you'll need warm, waterproof clothing. Layer what you wear to avoid overheating. You'll need a waterproof, roomy tent, a sleeping bag that can handle very cold temperatures and one or two stoves. An ice axe, anchors, crampons for your boots and some rope round out the list of mountaineering gear you'll need.

Be safe every time you go mountain climbing. Bring equipment that's appropriate for the type and length of climb you plan on doing. Make sure all of your equipment is in good, working order. Follow mountaineering climbing advice and don't take shortcuts. Check your harness, rope and knots consistently. Bring along a first aid kit and a way to signal for help in case of an emergency.

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