Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Why Join an Alpine Climb Training

Pokalde peak, part of my Alpine climb
training expedition (2003)

I started 'blank' in high-altitude and alpine mountaineering, groping my way here and there. I didn’t even know what AMS was about, until I’ve experienced it! I’ve walked on snow not understanding what right gear to use. I was lucky that at least, I had some technical climbing background specifically the use of ropes, anchors and ‘hardware’ (karabiner, ascending, rappelling device, etc.).

Looking back, it would have been nice if I started ‘the right way’… A first climb trip that has all these ‘know-this-first’ essentials. As part of my personal advocacy to sustain Filipino adventurism in some remote, cold, storm-ravaged places in the world, I thought I should help offer a trip that will have this ideal elements. This year, that may just be a reality…

The plan was to combine a significant climb (6000m category), just right for first and not-so-first timers. Injecting necessary skill-building activities on ice/snow climbing will be part of the trip. For the super newbies, or those wanting a refresher, a Manila-based sub-course on general rope, climb, anchoring skills will be included in the program (prior to the trip). And to make it interesting, I’ll include an alpine and high-altitude climb 1-day intro course (gears, lectures, techniques).

For the more experienced ones, a climb of a 7000m peak (a trip extension) will be offered. It would be rare to have an opportunity for Filipinos (the primary target participants, although the trip is ‘open’ to others) to have predominantly Pinoy climbers and a Pinoy organizer. The experience will be different and even relatively better.

Some reasons why YOU should consider joining this climb trip (vs. just joining the trek-only team).

1. Start it right. I mentioned earlier that I started not having proper background info or skills. Here’s your chance to start it right.

2. Have a Pinoy mentor. Some of us will have more experience than most participants. Maximize that opportunity to learn.

3. Gradual learning model - Step-ladder approach. An optional (for experienced) training in Manila will jumpstart skill-building and will simplify a more difficult high-altitude based alpine training (on site in Nepal).

4. Get even fitter! One needs to be rightly fit prior to the trip, but for sure – you’ll be 2 or more times fitter after the trip.

5. Take your climbing to the next level. Although fun, being content on just trekking or climbing below 20,000ft will never bring your climbing to a higher level. Literally.

6. For the long-haul. Invest money on skills and experience. Trip might be expensive by Pinoy standard (although a lot cheaper compared to other options), but I believe it’s putting money on the right basket. Someday, you may find yourself traversing Greenland, or climbing K2, or even joining my future all-Pinoy South Pole team. Invest now, for the long term.

7. Live the life! As outdoor people, we always claim this. What’s a better option than adding a little bit of ‘living on the (mountain) edge’ trip on your adventure arsenal.

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