It doesnít require 10 years of climbing to attempt Everest. 2-3
years could be adequate if you climb very often, including some high
Alpine climbs. But you should still take your time to learn the skills
and enjoy the practice on various mountains around the world. Itís a
longer, yet much more rewarding approach to climb Everest.
Becoming a climber
Take a course in rock climbing
Start in spring or summer for the best weather, most spare time and
fun. An initial rock-climbing course usually takes a weekend. It will
familiarize you with the gear. Ropes, personal/climbing equipment,
belaying, the techniques to climb various rock formations and rock
materials, abseiling, how to find routes to climb (there are route-guide
books) and of course the art of rock climbing itself (to use your legs
rather than your arms and so on). Expect sore legs, arms, back
and fingertips. And a whole new dimension to your life.
Buy a guidebook for various climbs and routes in your neighborhood
and start practice what youíve learned.
You donít need to be a skilled rock climber to climb the Himalayas
since the technical parts of alpine mountains usually are different
"tip" climbing. You will wear
bulky shoes and
clothing - the rocks will be rougher and wider.
But you need rock climbing skills to know the proper techniques. It
will make your climb so much easier.
Practice everywhere. Go outdoors, at evenings and weekends. It's a neat
feeling to climb a steep, dark, wet and cold hill at night, and then dress
up in the car for a fancy dinner at an upscale
Climb while spending a weekend at the in-laws summer house. Behind the mall. At
school brakes. In the park. There are rocks to be found everywhere.
People think that you are crazy? Donít worry about it. You are
about to become an Everest climber!
Bring climbing gear with you on vacations. Weíve had some great
rock climbs in really unexpected places like the Seychelles. Make
climbing a part of your every day life. 10 minutes here. One hour there.
You have the time.
3. Aid climbing
After you have practiced some rock climbing on your own, say a month
or two, you should follow up with a class in aid climbing. It takes just
a day or two and will introduce you to further techniques in artificial
climbing and pegs.
These skills are specifically suited for difficult walls and tricky sections.
With these techniques, youíll get in and out of everywhere.
4. Time to go Ice
climbed for around, say - 3 months, and if you
started at summer and live in a temperate climate, now is the season to
take a class in ice climbing.
This course takes anything from 1-3 days, depending on travel. You will learn to use
ice- screws, snow belays, crampons and those
cool ice picks. You will be wearing hard boots and learn to climb in heavy weather gear. The
ice will shimmer translucent blue and green, you will be mortified,
but in the end you'll make it and then transform into Superman, ready to sign
5. Ready for the Big Ones
Following the winters ice-climbs,
it is now spring and a good time to join a guided expedition to a high
mountain. Denali in Alaska is a good one. The climb is around 2 weeks,
season ranging from May to July. You will learn to deal with cold and foul weather,
altitude, to pack light, to melt water and prepare altitude food, how to
set up camp, what gear to use and how to use it.
Also, you will learn how you respond to altitude - what is normal and
when to be alarmed. You will also learn to handle various mountaineering
problems, medicals and alpine illness preventions.
Since we had already attended a mountaineering course in
the Mount Blanc massif, we took on Denali alone. Reading the book
"Surviving Denali" (Jonathan Waterman) prior to the climb was of great value to us.
6. On your own
It's time to make your own expedition. Aaargh! Take on an easy
mountain: Cho Oyu in Nepal and the likes. (But never underestimate ANY
mountain). Practice what you learned when you were guided. Good time
to climb Cho Oyo is in the fall, September/October. Aconcagua, South America,
is a favorite in the spring.
Ready to go. Here is how...