Physical fitness of the climber

How to plan and prepare for a mountain hike

Mountaineering and rock climbing are different but interrelated types of human activity. Climbing in relation to mountaineering is a basic activity. It historically preceded the second and became its core.

Rock climbing - basic technique

Climbing is understood as a set of techniques (techniques) to overcome the vertical relief. For a modern person, climbing a steep cliff is fun and exercise for the body. However, in the distant past, the need for rock climbing was associated with economic needs. For example, in the crevices of the rocks, birds nested, whose eggs could be eaten. In order to get them, it was necessary to learn how to climb the rocks, as well as to see in advance the potential route of the ascent. Images of a person climbing a steep wall are present in Chinese drawings two thousand years ago. The Anasazi Indians who lived in the rocks a thousand years ago, in all likelihood, also practiced rock climbing.

In the twentieth century. rock climbing has developed into a sports discipline, in which national and international competitions are organized (sport climbing). For most people, however, this activity has a recreational meaning. In winter, trainings take place on artificial walls. In the summer, groups of climbers go to the nearby mountains for natural practice.

Vertical ascent can be done in three ways:

  • he is a site - on sight - "by eye", without preliminary acquaintance with the route;
  • flash - flash - ascent with initial knowledge of the specifics of the route;
  • red point - a secondary ascent along a familiar route.

There are two main ways of climbing:

  • free - using only natural ledges, ledges, crevices;
  • using additional equipment that allows you to be fixed on the wall.

Surfaces with a sufficient number of irregularities are passed through the free method. Climbing a smooth wall requires anchoring in the rock with hooks, carabiners, thanks to which it becomes possible to pull up. Typically, the climber uses a combination of both methods when climbing natural rock walls. Sections that can be traversed without additional fixation are traversed freely. The type of climbing is not associated with the presence or absence of insurance: it is used in both versions.

Climbing training and practice does not require great heights. Climbing goals are different:

  • overcoming limited sections of the wall of varying degrees of difficulty (climbing difficulty);
  • competitive goal - the one who copes with the task first wins (climbing at speed);
  • mini-climbing - on 4-5-meter boulders without belay, but with mats laid at the bottom (climbing-bouldering).

Mountaineering and rock climbing what is the difference

Whether you're embarking on your first hiking trip or ending up with a Triple Crown of Hiking trail of over 12,000 km, the gear you bring with you can make your hike easier or worse. Now there is a huge number of different equipment that is positioned as ultralight or ultra-technological. How to choose the right equipment from all this variety, suitable for your purposes?

Ultimately, the decision to purchase equipment is determined by the moment of travel comfort is most preferable for you: in the hiking part or during your stay at the camp. And whatever decision you make, it will affect both. It should be borne in mind that if each piece of equipment will provide comfort in the camp, you will be so exhausted and exhausted along the way while carrying this heavy load that it will be very difficult for you to relax at the end of the day.

The purpose of this article is to sort out the pros and cons of common equipment oppositions, such as: tents versus awnings, inflatable camping mats against karemat (foam), stoves against cold soaking food, backpacks with an inner frame against frameless, and more.

Tents vs. awnings

Advantages of tents:

  • Easy to set up, especially for tents that do not require stretching: they are equally comfortable to set up both on wooden tent platforms, and on rocky terrain or soil too soft for pegs.
  • Fast adjustment compared to having a lot of stakes and tension points at the tarpaulin.
  • Complete protection from insects and other animals.
  • Generally more comfortable placement than an enclosed space.

Cons of tents:

  • They are usually heavier and more expensive than awning.
  • Limited choice of fabric.

Advantages of awnings:

  • The lightest possible shelter option.
  • A variety of materials from heavy duty Dynem fabric to nylon and silicone combinations.
  • The simple A-shaped awning is extremely spacious.
  • Many installation options depending on the terrain and weather conditions - for rectangular awnings.
  • Your trekking poles can additionally be used as tent poles.
  • Has a wide price range depending on material and size.

Cons of awnings:

  • Condensation and lack of ventilation in a fully enclosed unit.
  • Lower interior height than tents, depending on location and model.
  • Most options require an additional mosquito net in case protection is needed.
  • Longer installation time as the tension and tilt angle need to be adjusted.

Inflatable tourist mats against karemat (foam)

Mountaineering and rock climbing are different but interrelated human activities. Climbing in relation to mountaineering is a basic activity.

There are many regions with mountains in Europe, so traveling through it will appeal to those who are fond of mountaineering. There are places where you can go rock climbing all year round, and there are also rocks for seasonal visits. Consider in this article 12 mountaineering sites in Europe from northern Norway to Greece.

Northern Europe

Mountaineering in Norway: Narvik and the Lofoten Islands

The Lofoten Islands are located in the north of Norway near the city of Narvik. It is best to get to it by plane from Oslo to one of the city's two airports, as the country is strongly stretched from north to south and the relief is mountainous. You can spend the night in Narvik in a hostel (from 300 CZK per night) and in apartments (from 800 CZK), there is a camping, and they are allowed to stay in the church for the night free of charge.

The area is humid, it is useful to bring an airtight packaging for documents. A general first aid kit, wetsuit, sleeping bag will also come in handy. You can go on your own and take a guided tour for 11 days (from 5 to 14 people in a group), 120 kilometers on foot and by sea on kayaks. Tourist buses run to Narvik from St. Petersburg through the territory of Finland and Norway, and there is a train from the Swedish city of Kiruna.

Beautiful Lofoten - in the video:

The city's attractions include a cable car, rock carvings and a couple of museums, and Linken Climbing Park in a picturesque setting overlooking the mountains and the fjord. Open for individual visits on Wednesdays and Sundays. The park has two trails and a Sami house where you can have a picnic.

Climbers should climb Mount Stetind. The best time for climbing is from July to September. It has three routes: standard, south side, west side. If the weather does not allow, then it is better to climb the top of Hamareyskaftet and the granite wall of Skiomene.

Mountaineering in Sweden: around Gothenburg

There are many nice granite rocks around this city in southwestern Sweden. There are trains from Stockholm (4 hours to go) and buses from different cities. Ships come here from Denmark and Germany. Prices for an overnight stay in hostels start at 1000 rubles. From Gothenburg, in search of climbing sites, it is worth going to the following places:

  • Boras City to the east. There are traditional and sports routes, eight climbing zones.
  • Bohuslan to the north, where there are about 100 small rocks.
  • Hene Island, for example, you can go to Ersdalen.

Gothenburg has a high climbing wall called Klatterdomen with five slopes, a boulder area and a cafe. Children are allowed on it from 6 years old. There are instructors, groups are formed for both children and adults. Open from 9 am to 8 pm.

A trip to the mountains is always a big event associated with hassle and experience. In this article, we will not give lists of equipment or understand the features of thermal underwear, but talk about planning and preparing for the trip in general. What needs to be done in advance so that the trip is enjoyable and not painful.

Sergey Kornienko

Expert of the bivouac department in the AlpIndustriya store on Pervomayskaya.

Mountain hiker and climber with fifteen years of experience, in winter skiing and ski touring. Was in Central Asia, Altai, Caucasus, Urals. He prefers to go hiking in the "slow & light" style - light and without haste. Likes to rediscover popular districts and look into places where tourists rarely go. Favorite areas are the Caucasus and Crimea.

Start planning ahead

This is the first and most important. The sooner you start planning, the better you can prepare. The most optimal is for a year. You will not believe how quickly time flies and how many things need to be done

The best time in the mountains is the second half of July and the first half of August. The weather is the most stable, with the peak of the holiday season at this time. So this summer is the right time to decide on the wishes and schedule for next summer and draw up a kind of business plan for organizing the trip. Define key steps and milestones:

  • Preparation of the route
  • Approval of the list of participants
  • Preparation of equipment
  • Preparation of layout and first aid kit
  • Final check

And now about everything in more detail.

Check your health

Mountains, mountains, mountains. For a whole year we live on the upcoming vacation, think about the trip, mentally transfer ourselves to the world of high peaks and alpine meadows. It's like a candy-flower period in a relationship: common sense is turned off, and we are only able to think about the route and equipment. And many forget to think about themselves. Are you ready for a trip to the mountains?

The second and very important thing, which many do not even remember, is to check their health. Seemingly elementary thing that many people ignore. At the height, all sores become aggravated, this is no secret to anyone, and the consequences can be very sad. The easiest option is to be examined and tested in any sports clinic. Should be fine.

It is worth mentioning right away that it will be about the training of climbers living on the plain. The training process of those who can climb all year round, almost every weekend, or generally work in the mountains as an instructor or guide, will, of course, be built differently.

Alexander Igumnov

CCM Mountaineering. Mountaineering instructor. More than 15 years in the mountains (mountain tourism, speleology, mountaineering). Graduated from the Russian State University of Physical Culture, has experience working with Russian national teams in triathlon, biathlon and short track. Participated in the project of the Olympic Committee for the preparation of athletes to perform in the mountains before the games in Sochi. From personal experience: participant in races to Elbrus (6:10 from Azau) and around Elbrus (118 km in 33 hours with 4 passes up to 3700 m and a set of 5000 m), participant in the Ironman triathlon (13 hours), three times winner of Moscow championships and participant Russian Ski Mountaineering Championship, participant of adventure and ski races.

Why does a climber need a general physical training

Physical fitness is an integral and extremely important part of a climber's training. You can be fluent in techniques, perfectly know the theoretical foundations and buy the most perfect equipment. But if there is no appropriate level of physical readiness, all this knowledge turns into an abstraction far from practice, and equipment - into an exhibition of the achievements of light industry.

A person who climbs to the limit of his physical capabilities not only does not get pleasure from the process and the surrounding beauty, but also becomes the main source of danger. Almost always, it is the high degree of fatigue that is the sad companion of other causes of accidents in the mountains.

People choose an easier path in terms of physical efforts, preferring it to a more difficult but safer one - fatigue dulls the sense of danger. Often this happens at the final stage of the ascent, according to statistics, the most dangerous - on the descent. Climbers begin to neglect more time-consuming, but safe techniques, refuse insurance or do not take the necessary equipment with them so as not to carry "extra" ...

The difference between mountaineering and many other types of physical activity and sports is that you always need to have a reserve of strength in case of unfavorable developments. An athlete covering a marathon distance, on the way to the finish line, must give all his best, ideally, exactly 100%, no more, no less. A climber standing on the summit must have a reserve of at least 50% strength, and after descending to the camp - not less than 25-30%, and this is under favorable conditions for the ascent.

To act on the edge of your physical capabilities means to be absolutely defenseless against the objective dangers of mountaineering. Mountains by their nature are a hostile environment for a person, but the better he is ready to meet them, the more reliable his actions and the more pleasure he gets from climbing.

How the body works at altitude

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