We published this a short time ago, thought I’d bring it to the front one more time as a public service.
We have a problem here in Colorado with people not treating our mountains (especially the “14ers”) with due respect. Consequently, we had a tragic summer last year with numerous climbers’ deaths.
What is respect? The list is long. In my opinion “respect” means learning the craft of alpine climbing in reasonable increments, and including a broad scope in your concept of “craft.” It’s not about slipping on a pair of running shoes and firing up your GoPro; peak climbing is so much more…
Examples: Learn how to use your GPS app effectively when you don’t have a data connection; learn first aid; learn to start a one-match fire with damp wood; learn how to effectively contact authorities during an emergency. More, plan a gradual escalation in your climbing goals. Gradation is the only way you’ll learn how to move and navigate on steep sometimes loose terrain, where route choices of mere yards (and sometimes inches!) can mean the difference between life and death.
There is no substitute for real world experience in learning the actual act of climbing, thus the need to increment in difficulty (and perhaps climb with guides or experienced friends). But the intellectual side of the equation can be solved by taking courses, attending seminars, and reading more than glorified success stories on social media. To that end, a variety of our Colorado public and private entities are kicking of an “awareness campaign” that’ll target Colorado peak climbers.
First event in the awareness campaign will be a full day of seminars presented June 9 by Mountain Rescue Aspen (MRA). Subjects covered during the “Backcountry Basics Workshop” will range from map reading to survival. The event is affordable ($30 donation) and you get a first aid kit for attending. Time: 08:00 to 16:00 as they’d say during a rescue mission… oh, and yes they will teach fire starting tricks.
I highly recommend this event, Mountain Rescue Aspen members comprise a remarkable depth of experience both as rescuers and climbers (not to mention ski mountaineering). The all volunteer MRA membership includes numerous IMGA certified guides, and numerous men and women with up to 50 years of mountaineering experience both in rescue and recreational climbing! Attend the workshop, get familiar with MRA, learn something, meet new people!
(We have quite a bit of safety content here at WildSnow, for example this article about snow climbing.)
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.