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Timberline Trails - School of Mountaineering timberlinetrails.net
This site is by no means a substitute, for expert climbing
instruction and or mountaineering skill. Nor can this area of
Timberline Trails make climbing safe for those who do not
apply sound judgement and practice the safety principles as
outlined in expert publications on the subject.
Inexperienced climbers are urged to avail themselves of
instruction in safe climbing techniques from mountain clubs,
professional guides, and/or experienced friends before
taking on any climb or mountaineering type activity.
Mountaineering and rock climbing involves risks, and each
person must assume personal responsibility for his or her
own safety. Author of Timberline Trails is unable to accept
responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by any
person, caused by errors and omissions, or as a result of any advice
and/or information given in this site.
So due yourself a great service and get proper instruction
from a qualified trainer, and climb safe. Remember, no
ascent is worth the deliberate risk of life or injury!
"Into Thin Air," wrote the following “Unfortunately, the sort of individual who is programmed to ignore personal distress and keep
pushing for the top is frequently programmed to disregard signs of grave and imminent danger as well. This forms the crux of the
dilemma that every mountain climber comes up against. In order to succeed, you must be exceedingly driven, but if you are too
driven, you will likely die. Therefore the line between appropriate zeal and reckless summit fever becomes grievously thin. Thus the
slopes of Everest are littered with corpses.” I think this pretty much sums up the importance of knowing your strengths,
weaknesses, and motives when taking on any mountain.
But on a more positive note, I would like to say this. Mountaineering and climbing have provided multitudes of adventure, excitement,
hardships, and inner growth for not only myself, but for the many who have accompanied me over the years.
In the beginning when people asked me why I climb, I would simply state "For the accomplishment", or "For the Adventure," but that
has changed. Today, I would say that I climb for the depth of character that outdoor activities such as mountaineering provide.
I can tell you straight out, that I can learn more about an individual (or myself for that matter) in just a few short days in the
mountains, than I can in years of watching someone in normal day to day conditions. Seeing a person under the hardships of
frustration, exhaustion, fear, and a host of other human emotions, brings out the inner man like nothing else can. I like that. For I
would rather see the real person and deal with that, then work with the fake facades that so many
people put on when life is easy. To quote Voytek Kurtyka: "Alpinism is the art of suffering" and
mountaineering is certainly challenging, and the hardships do abound, but the rewards are equally
For those who have never experienced the exhilaration of being on a distant summit, or awakened to a
clear crisp dawn and seen the alpenglow of a great north facing wall......well........all I can say is that
there are beauties out there that defy description. No photo (no matter how good) can capture what
the human eye can take in, for those beauties can only be experienced by individuals who are willing
to pay the price. But if you are willing to put in the hard work, I will guarantee you this: You will gain
experiences in life that you will never forget. For the physical and spiritual rewards to be gained in the
mountains are well worth the effort you put into it.
"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into
song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands." (Isaiah 55:12)
Getting the most enjoyment out of climbing and mountaineering, will require proper
conditioning, mental preparation, knowledge of what equipment you need and how to use it,
proper food and nutritional needs, understanding weather and how to prepare for it, navigation,
first aid, safety considerations, climbing anchors, rappelling, glacier travel, and on and on. As
you can see, volumes could be written on the subject of mountaineering alone.
What you will learn in the mountains is endless, and no book or website could ever take the
place of experience, and if you end up spending any significant time in the mountains, you will
find that your need to hone your problem solving skills. They will be vital to the safety and
success of every outing you go on. You will need to be keenly aware of how environmental
and situational problems work together to challenge your every decision and the consequences
for making the wrong one.
But most importantly, a mountaineer needs to know him or herself. You need to know if you
are in over your head. If you have taken on a route beyond your skill set. You need to also
know the skills and weaknesses of not only yourself, but your climbing or hiking partners.
Mountaineering is most often a team effort, and there are no congratulations to you, if one or
more of your team members are hurt or injured in the process. Jon Krakauer in his book
This section of
Timberline Trails is
dedicated to helping you
get the most out of your
time spent in the great
outdoors when it comes
to activities such as
The "How To's" of the
above subjects are so
vast that we can only
scratch the surface (at
best), when it comes to
all the information you
would need to deal with
scenario you may come
While proper training
and experience are king
when it comes to being
safe and getting the most
out of any activity, it
certainly doesn't hurt to
gain as much knowledge
as possible before
beginning any wilderness
adventure. And it is our
hope that we will be able
to offer you some help
here in this section of