What is Mountaineering? | Ridestore Magazine

Mountaineering is the sport to nurture your inner adventurer. The one who craves that hit of adrenaline and dopamine when you finally reach the summit and see a stunning view. It's the sport for the explorer within you, who wishes to use their skills and knowledge to discover paths unknown.

Mountaineering is a fun and challenging activity as it's more technical than, let's say, hiking or trekking and is done at higher altitudes. Usually, a mountaineer will scale mountains past the 5,000m mark and require specialist equipment and know-how. But there is plenty more too it. Let's find out more.

mountaineering vs hiking

Mountaineering trips take several days to complete and require a great deal of technical and physical training. Mountaineers also need a lot more supportive equipment than when trekking or hiking. 

Before mountaineering, you have to learn how to use the equipment before the trip. For instance, you’ll need to know how to use an ice axe or climb ice with crampons. Moreover, you will need to learn how to walk on glaciers, survive snow storms and how to rescue yourself in case you slip.

Although it’s a little bit challenging, mountaineering is exciting and comes with loads of fun.

mountaineering essentials

In addition to the hiking and trekking clothing and equipment checklist, for mountaineering, you’ll need a couple of extra items, depending on the kind of trip you choose.

Mountaineering essentials:

  • Crampons and plastic boots
  • Mountaineering harness
  • An ice axe between 60 and 75 cm long
  • A climbing sling
  • Climbing helmet
  • Telescopic ski sticks
  • Prussic loops

Of course aside from the more specific equipment, if you are looking for some durable, practical and super stylish, check out Ridestore for the latest collection of outdoor jackets and hiking pants.

Fitness levels required

fitness levels required

So, let’s get serious for a minute; mountaineering is a serious undertaking, and you should treat it as such, of course it’s a wonderful outdoor activity but it can be dangerous, just like skiing or snowboarding. Before you engage in this outdoor activity, ensure that you can climb or hike for 5-6 hours with a 30-pound pack on your back. You should also be able to climb about 4,000 ft of vertical gain every day. 

You can train for this by trying running or jogging at altitude with your day pack on your back. To be prepared for mountaineering, you should exercise for an hour, four times every week. On your off days, you should take long hikes (6-8 hours long).

advantages of mountaineering


Where do we even begin when talking about all the advantages of mountaineering. To keep it simple, they are: 

  • It is fun
  • Climbing builds confidence
  • You learn to appreciate nature

These are in addition to the benefits of hiking and trekking between climbs. However the benefits of mountaineering are much deeper, think of the spiritual, physical and mental gain. There is nothing quite as fulfilling as knowing that the skills and know-how you have acquired will take you anywhere. 

Disadvantages of mountaineering

Of course there are always disadvantages of mountaineering. The training itself can be tough going.

  • You may develop altitude sickness
  • It takes a long time to train and be fit for a trip
  • It's dangerous to do it alone

It goes without saying that the good does outweigh the bad but it’s important to mention, right!?

disadvantages of mountaineering

Special mention- what is scrambling?

Don’t get caught up in the lingo. . . 

Scrambling is a combination of sports involving climbing and walking on a mountain. It involves climbing rocks, walls, and mountains without using ropes or technical equipment. The difference between it and hiking is that you’ll have to use your hands to ascend.

FAQ Section

What is the ideal time to start mountaineering for beginners?

The ideal time to start mountaineering for beginners is in the spring and summer months when the weather is more predictable, and conditions are favorable for learning. However, always pay attention to local weather conditions and choose a beginner-friendly location.

Is a guide necessary for my mountaineering trip?

A guide can greatly enhance your mountaineering trip, especially if you're new to the sport. Guides are professionals trained in safety measures, route-finding, and can help ease your fears and uncertainty, especially when tackling technical sections. Err on the side of caution and hire a guide for your first few trips.

Wrapping up

We hope that this short and sweet article helps you understand what mountaineering is a little better. If you get out there training and make sure you do plenty of research; maybe even join some Facebook groups etc. Before you know it, you will be out in nature and enjoying your time mountaineering with good friends.

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