A Brief History of Mountaineering

Published: 06th February 2008
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Mountaineering is considered a sport by many and involves hiking, climbing, or simply walking on mountain terrain. It is very different from rock climbing. In European countries, it is often referred to as Alpinism, though that is not common vernacular in the United States. Originally, mountaineering was simply based on people's desire to reach the highest peaks of mountains, but over the years, has evolved into different disciplines that require different degrees of training and skill.

There are three main terrains that mountaineers encounter when climbing: snow, glaciers, and ice. All of them are difficult to traverse on foot, and many modern mountaineers choose to use mechanical equipment to help them get around. Snow is the easiest to deal with on foot, though only certain snow conditions can be traveled by foot. Many people choose to use crampons, snow shoes, or even skis to climb mountains when they are covered in snow. That said, the use of skis actually evolved into a sport of its own - ski mountaineering.

Glacier trekking requires very different equipment, due to different risks. Crevasses are a huge potential danger when it comes to glaciers, especially because it is sometimes difficult to see the holes in the ice. Crampons and ice axes are essential equipment for glacier climbing. It is rare for anyone to climb a glacier without a backup team, as the potential of falling into a crevasse is too high - and it is nearly impossible for someone to recover from a fall like that without assistance.

Simple ice is approached in many different ways. Ice screws or pickets are often used to help on steep terrain.

When mountaineering, it is important to consider shelter. There are many different kinds of shelters that a mountain climber could choose to use, such as a hut, a bivouac, a tent, or a snow cave. On some mountains, there are actually staffed huts where guests can rest over night and enjoy food and drink.

Climbing mountains is extremely dangerous and requires an understanding of the dangers if it is to be remotely safe. Many mountain climbers have faced falling rocks when climbing - these are most commonly caused by erosion of the surface of the mountain. Rocks can fall at any time, though when the mountain is cold and iced over, the risk is somewhat controlled, as the ice tends to hold loose rocks in place. When choosing a camping spot, it is important to look at the ground and make sure that there are not fallen rocks or rock debris in the area. This is a sign that it is a falling rock area, and potentially very dangerous.

Falling ice is another danger that rock climbers face. The effect is similar to a fallen rock situation - only ice can be extremely sharp and cause further injuries. The biggest danger of falling ice occurs when the weather suddenly shifts from extreme cold to above freezing and/or the sun shines on a weaker piece of ice.

Avalanches are a huge concern for climbers. Avalanches are caused when a significant amount of snow or ice breaks free from the solid sheet and begins a downward fall. This will move as one single piece, and is considered more dangerous than a loose snow avalanche, where smaller amounts of snow come together to form a larger slab. That said, it is still a danger and could cause significant damage to a climber.

Men have been climbing mountains since the early days, in an attempt to conquer nature. That said, it is important to be aware of the dangers of the sport and to always climb with one or more people - particularly if you are inexperienced.

Mountaineering is considered a sport by many and involves hiking, climbing, or simply walking on mountain terrain. In European countries, it is often referred to as Alpinism, though that is not common vernacular in the United States. Originally, mountaineering was simply based on people's desire to reach the highest peaks of mountains, but over the years, has evolved into different disciplines that require different degrees of training and skill.

There are three main terrains that mountaineers encounter when climbing: snow, glaciers, and ice. All of them are difficult to traverse on foot, and many modern mountaineers choose to use mechanical equipment to help them get around. Snow is the easiest to deal with on foot, though only certain snow conditions can be traveled by foot. Many people choose to use crampons, snow shoes, or even skis to climb mountains when they are covered in snow. That said, the use of skis actually evolved into a sport of its own - ski mountaineering.

Glacier trekking requires very different equipment, due to different risks. Crevasses are a huge potential danger when it comes to glaciers, especially because it is sometimes difficult to see the holes in the ice. Crampons and ice axes are essential equipment for glacier climbing. It is rare for anyone to climb a glacier without a backup team, as the potential of falling into a crevasse is too high - and it is nearly impossible for someone to recover from a fall like that without assistance.

Simple ice is approached in many different ways. Ice screws or pickets are often used to help on steep terrain.

When mountaineering, it is important to consider shelter. There are many different kinds of shelters that a mountain climber could choose to use, such as a hut, a bivouac, a tent, or a snow cave. On some mountains, there are actually staffed huts where guests can rest over night and enjoy food and drink.

Climbing mountains is extremely dangerous and requires an understanding of the dangers if it is to be remotely safe. Many mountain climbers have faced falling rocks when climbing - these are most commonly caused by erosion of the surface of the mountain. Rocks can fall at any time, though when the mountain is cold and iced over, the risk is somewhat controlled, as the ice tends to hold loose rocks in place. When choosing a camping spot, it is important to look at the ground and make sure that there are not fallen rocks or rock debris in the area. This is a sign that it is a falling rock area, and potentially very dangerous.

Falling ice is another danger that rock climbers face. The effect is similar to a fallen rock situation - only ice can be extremely sharp and cause further injuries. The biggest danger of falling ice occurs when the weather suddenly shifts from extreme cold to above freezing and/or the sun shines on a weaker piece of ice.

Avalanches are a huge concern for climbers. Avalanches are caused when a significant amount of snow or ice breaks free from the solid sheet and begins a downward fall. This will move as one single piece, and is considered more dangerous than a loose snow avalanche, where smaller amounts of snow come together to form a larger slab. That said, it is still a danger and could cause significant damage to a climber.

Men have been climbing mountains since the early days, in an attempt to conquer nature. That said, it is important to be aware of the dangers of the sport and to always climb with one or more people - particularly if you are inexperienced.


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