Taking the next step from your average weekend rock climbing experience to mountaineering can be an awestriking experience. It is true that the best way to learn is by doing, but it does not hurt to learn a few things before heading out on your first climb.

Pack Light

Mountain climbing is a long and strenuous process compared to some of the smaller climbs. It is important to reevaluate what you are carrying with you on your trips to see what you need. The more you move with you, the more cumbersome your trip will be. See what items you and your climbing partner can share during your travels to make your journey smoother. One thing you will never want to skimp out on is a headlamp with extra batteries! Being stuck in the dark out in the mountains is dangerous.

Learn How to Adapt to Surroundings
Taking a map as your only source of information is foolish. With rock slides, erosion, and exposure changes only you can be the best judge of your current situation. Having skills such as belaying mid-pitch, jugging, and simul-climbing can help to increase your options when you are faced with having to switch up your plans.

Be Aware of Your Partner and Limitations
Ridgelines are common on a mountain path, and you’ll want to protect your second so that they don’t dive. It may be common for you to lead for a long time on a regular rock-climbing event. That does not mean it will be the same during a mountaineering experience. Respecting your athletic abilities in the sport is essential. This is especially true if the climb is not within your usual grade of difficulty.

Know When to Bail
It’s okay to not get to the top on your first try. Mountaineering is a whole new experience that takes some adjustment time. What is crucial to your safety is knowing when to bail a lousy situation. Noticing dramatic changes in weather is a sure sign of descending and finding shelter fast. Darkness doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re done with the event if you’re well prepared. It all depends on your skill level, your equipment if you have a headlamp and how comfortable you feel continuing.