Do you consider that you are the type of people who are adventurous, who like to live new experiences and who set themselves greater and greater challenges? Do you like to live on the edge of the abyss? Do you enjoy the tingling in your stomach that produces a strong adrenaline rush?
If you answered yes to at least a couple of these questions, you’re probably a person who enjoys playing extreme sports. In your case, it is all or nothing, because there are no intermediate points or a comfort zone where you can stay.
You constantly need to get out of the boredom of everyday life to drain all the accumulated tension and to release the stress generated by city life. Therefore, you resort to places where you can be in contact with nature and thus reconnect with nature and yourself.
Actually, within extreme sports there is a lot to choose from. There are those that have to do with heights, quickly, with maximum physical resistance, among others. However, how many of them manage to combine adrenaline with the tranquility of nature? It may seem to you that there is no such activity. However, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
Have you ever heard of mountaineering? What do you relate this word to? Yes, with the mountains. But what is it about? How is it practiced? What risks are you taking? What do you need to practice it? Is it a group or solitary activity? Should you be an expert?
If you would like to do mountaineering, you need to answer each and every one of these questions, since it is an unconventional activity that you do not have much knowledge of. However, in this article, you can be aware of these and other aspects related to this activity to practice it whenever you want. Without further ado, let’s get into the matter right now.
It is a sport that consists of walking and hiking in the mountains, going up and down them. Its main motivation is the destination, the mountains and its routes are of greater difficulty.
Depending on the goal of the mountaineer, if you want to reach the top of the mountain, it can be defined as Ascension. However, if it requires any climbing technique, then it is known as Mountaineering.
In addition, we can say that it is not a simple sport, it is also a recreational activity that is related to the exploration of the environment, as well as the love for nature.
On the other hand, it should be noted that it is one of the sports that has the greatest history and tradition in the life of man. It originated in the Alps by the end of the eighteenth century, hence it is also known as mountaineering.
Among the most famous mountaineers are the first two people who reached the top of Mount Everest, which is more than 8, <> meters high.
To practice this sport requires a series of skills, some of them are: rock climbing, rappelling, etc. Unlike hiking, the difficulty, the duration of the climbs and the presence of dangerous conditions are greater.
It can also involve having to spend a night, or even more, in the mountains, which requires the use of a lot of equipment and, usually, is practiced in a group or, at least, in pairs.
Depending on the type of terrain, the height of the mountain and the weather conditions, mountaineering excursions can be classified into low, medium and high mountain. However, this classification varies depending on where in the world we are.
As for the low mountain, in Spain it reaches up to 1500 meters. It is an area where vegetation abounds and there are few rocks. In this type of terrain hiking is usually practiced.
In relation to the middle mountain, the height in Spain ranges from 1500 meters to 2500. It consists of a landscape full of robust trees and rocks. In the winter season there is usually snow. Due to these characteristics, it is common to practice hiking and trekking.
Finally, the high mountain goes from 2500 meters onwards. Its terrain is usually rocky and with no vegetation. Its temperatures are extreme and it is ideal for mountaineering.
On the other hand, within mountaineering we can find different disciplines, depending on their difficulty, their objective and the materials used, some of them are the following:
- Hiking: they are nothing more than walks made by the low and medium mountain, whose difficulty is of less intensity. In general, excursions do not usually last more than one day and are made by roads and trails that are signposted. Therefore, it is also known by the name of hiking.
- Mountaineering: it is mountaineering that takes place in the high mountains. Your goal is to reach mountains by overcoming some difficulties, such as rocks, snow and ice. Therefore, the use of specific materials is needed, such as crampons, harness, helmet, ropes, etc.
- The Ascents: this type of mountaineering is carried out in medium and high mountains and its objective is to reach the top, so it may require climbing in some sections. It usually does not merit the use of technical material. However, depending on the conditions of the terrain and the time in which you want to make the ascent, it may be necessary to use technical materials, such as rope, rackets, crampons, etc.
- Climbing: consists of making ascents or ascents on walls of great inclination. Therefore, it requires the support of hands and feet to be able to climb with the use of materials, such as harness, ropes, helmet, etc.
- Mountain skiing: it is a type of mountaineering, in this case a winter one, which is done with skis.
What You Need
When practicing mountaineering you must have:
- Water and food, which must go inside a backpack.
- A helmet to be protected against landslides of sand and rocks.
- The appropriate strings.
- The pythons to dig into the rocks and thus anchor the ropes or screws, in case the mountain is full of ice.
- A harness to hold the ropes.
- Depending on the terrain, special shoes or boots may be needed for climbing.
- Different devices that are connected to the ropes and that allow the realization of different types of movements, such as carabiners or rappelling devices.
- Gloves, which must be elastic and made of synthetic fiber.
- Sunglasses and blizzard glasses. These are very important to avoid phototalmy and other eye problems that are caused by the incidence of ultraviolet and infrared rays in the eyes.
Since it seems to be a sport that carries certain risks, have you ever wondered what are the advantages of practicing it? Let’s look at it right now.
- Mountain walks strengthen the muscles of the buttocks and legs, much more than practicing other types of exercise.
- In the climbs you get resistance and toning of the muscles, while, in the descents, their elasticity increases.
- It provides psychological benefits, since contact with nature generates a feeling of tranquility and peace of mind.
- It prevents heart disease, as well as arthritis and low back pain, as they activate circulation.
However, as expected, not everything is rosy. This sport also carries a number of disadvantages. But what are they?
- The weather: sudden changes in weather can transform, in a couple of minutes, a perfect day of climbing into a nightmare, a situation that could be life-threatening. Therefore, it is best to start the climb very early, before dawn, to be able to finish it at noon.
- The equipment: when it is in poor condition, it can result in serious injury or even death, in the event of a fall. As for traditional ascents, it is necessary to have knowledge on how to install the equipment safely.
- As for their clothing, it should be necessary to bundle up and unwrap quickly. Clothing should be warm and solid, but also comfortable. They must be garments that facilitate blood circulation and appropriate footwear. Otherwise, a lot of mishaps could arise during the tour.
- Fauna: you must know how to deal with insect bites. In addition, there is the possibility of having contact with poisonous plants and vipers, which can be lurking among the shadows of the cracks and crevices, which are used as supports to climb the walls of the rocks.
- Also, it must be clear that there is the possibility of falling stones, landslides, avalanches, snow, glacial cracks, cold blizzards, etc.
Main causes of risk
In addition to this, there are general causes that can cause different types of accidents. Some of them are:
- Not having enough knowledge about mountaineering.
- Having defective or incomplete equipment.
- Having a poor physical condition.
- Overconfidence on the part of experienced staff, etc.
Regardless of whether it is a professional or an amateur, anyone who decides to carry out activities in the mountains must keep in mind that it is not free of dangers. In addition, despite all the training you may have, you are always in a constant learning, since the hypothetical situations, sometimes, are far from the real ones.
Therefore, if you decide to practice mountaineering, it is best to seek help from professionals in the field, that you have the necessary equipment and that you take into account all the preventive measures to have a perfect day of hiking.