7summits forum!

7 summits and other mountain stuff => General => Topic started by: scater77 on Mar 23 2006, 04:11

Title: New to this Board and Question!
Post by: scater77 on Mar 23 2006, 04:11
What a great forum this is!  I've read many parts and have been surfing the web sites of the Seven Summits.  I know that though I don't "fit in" in the sense that I have accomplished any major climbs....YET(!).....I have been a mountain lovin' fool my whole life!

When I was in elementary school, I used to ask for a "World Almanac" so that I could go the mountain section and look at the heights of all the world's major mountains! :)  Kind of geeky, but I really and truly loved just looking at them.  Then of course it was the "Life Nature Library Mountains" encyclopedia that got to me.  And then some awesome trekking in India in 1994 to the Rudrinath, Tungnath, Kedarnath that got me next to some giants like Chaukamba, Kedarnath, and a distant view of Nanda Devi.

Well surfing the web sites of www.project-himalaya.com and the "yetizone" I have come to know two things about myself: 

1.  I AM going to trek to Kala Pattar and stare up at Everest and fulfill this lifelong dream.
2.  One day, I may even want to climb it.

In the meantime.....my question to those of you more experienced people on this forum.

I know that I must get in shape before attempting ANY of the seven summits.  Could any of you speak to me from YOUR experience (as indeed I have read, re-read, looked at the pictures, and read some more from Seven Summits AND Alpine Ascents web sites on these) regarding climbing Denali and Aconcagua.

I WANT Denali!!!  I want to stand on top of that mountain and look all around at the planet.  But I am getting the message that perhaps Aconcagua and/or Kilimanjaro must come first. 

Please share you stories, wisdom, insights.  No post will be too long OR too instructive for me.  I am in the frame of mind to GROW toward the dream of climbing at least a few of these seven.

All my best!

Scater77 in Minnesota :)
Title: Re: New to this Board and Question!
Post by: MikeW on Mar 23 2006, 20:16
Hey scater77!

If you want to start climbing big mountains around the world, you need to start somewhere and that somewhere is Kilimanjaro. Why Kilimanjaro. Because it's a beautiful and magical place to start with, and mostly because it is easy hiking to the very top. But you need to know how your body will react to the effect of the altitude and Kili is a fantastic place for that. At close to 6000m (19340ft), Kili is very very high, don't ever underestimate that difficulty but it is the only difficulty you will face on Kili.

If the experience on Kili is good, then you can think about doing other peaks. Aconcagua is a good one to find out about your capacity to carry load at altitude, you will need it for Denali. And if you can summit at 6962m, than Denali is possible.

But before thinking about Denali yet, you need cold (very cold) conditions on an expedition to find out if you can withstand -20c for days and days. For that, you just have to go winter camping in the woods in your home state or come to my beautiful Quebec in the middle of January and you'll think Denali is Florida after that experience.

In the meanwhile, you take mountaineering courses to familiar yourself with knots, pulley system, rigging, crevasse rescue, sled pulling and you'll finally be ready to climb Denali in a safe and enjoyable way. It might take a couple of years before you're ready to climb Denali but you will have incredible experiences on other mountains.

Good luck!

Title: Re: New to this Board and Question!
Post by: scater77 on Apr 3 2006, 23:38
Mike W,

Thanks SO super much for your detailed response and insights!  It's people like you who make this forum so much fun and interesting.  I have practically been dreaming about Kili since you made that suggestion.  My family wants to join me, too.

I am looking at awhile down the road, as I have some training to do AND some $$$ to save.  In the meantime I'll start making a notebook of the information I gain from this web site and Alpine Ascents web site.

In terms of equipment, Mike, do you have good recommendations for purchasing that?  We have an REI store near us that has excellent inner/outer clothing.  But when I get ready to "do" Denali in a few years after Kili,  and need those "Everest" boots or such that cost $300to 700 dollars, where do people shop for that?  And the crampons, ice axes, etc.  I looked at Alpine Ascents suggestions and learned quite a bit there about "Moose Jaw" and some other places.  Their gear list is both inspiring and intimidating.  I realize that I'll have to save up a ton just to get all the equipment.  Again, your Kili FIRST suggestion looks good, as that list is quite a bit less technical than Denali, Aconcagua, Everest, etc.   I just wondered if perhaps there were other good store sources for the equipment.  Or if you have recommendations.

I wish I could afford a good Millet Everest boot right now!

All my best!


Title: Re: New to this Board and Question!
Post by: Mountain John on Apr 7 2006, 07:58
Hey Scater 77,

Good advice from Mike W.  Hey Mike W, by the way, guess whose Vinson expedition, from January, I just watched with 240 pictures?  yes, yours.  I met Bill at one of my presentations, and he was so kind as to give me his presentation show.  Great pics, and you look like a nice enough of a fellow too.  Saw Guatam too, who is in Nepal about now.  This world is getting smaller as I am meeting soooo many people doing the 7 summits, or some of the 7 summits.  have more dinners and hikes planned, hard to keep up.

So, Mr. Minnesota, congrats on your ambitions!  Yes, do some local hikes and Colorado isn't too far away to do some 14ers.  Then, definitely do Kilimanjaro first.

Denali is like Shasta/Rainier on top of Kilimanjaro.  You have both elevation AND glaciers to worry about.  oh yeah, plus extreme temps, avalanches, 100+ lbs of weight, and the steady pace of rope teams.

REI, in the right season, should carry the crampons, and ice axes.  I got my Millets at Marmot Mountain Works.  they special ordered a few pairs, so I could try on different pairs and get the right size.  that was free.  that is so important.  they will tell you to get 1.5 size too big, but I went with 1 size too big, and that was fine (feet swell at altitude).  don't forget, on the bottom of Denali, it is actually warm, and the Millets might be too much.  and you don't want to bring 2 pairs.

that's why normally on Denali people use gaitors over their plastic boots on the bottom, then switch to "overboots" over their plastic boots on the top half.

cheers, John
Title: Re: New to this Board and Question!
Post by: m.c. reinhardt on Apr 7 2006, 11:50
Hi Scater77

I love your enthusiasm for the mountains.  I also plan on trekking in the Himalayans in the near future and I have always had a desire to climb Everest.  I not 100% sure that I want to undertake such a challenge though.  (I'm considering the idea.)  Trekking in the Himalayans is definite.
But I will be climbing Kilimanjaro next Jan. or June 2007.  I'll be climbing with 7summits.com via the Lemosho/Breach or Lemosho/Machame variation.  (Depending on whether or not the Breach is re-opened at that time.)  If you are interested in climbing Kili around these dates, let me know.
Good luck on your quest to climb some or all of the 7 summits.

Title: Re: New to this Board and Question!
Post by: MikeW on Apr 7 2006, 19:37
Hi John!

You met Bill, a really nice fellow and quite impressive to climb like he does at his age. Yes the pics are really nice, but it's the place that makes the pics looks so nice. Can't wait to hear stories about Gautam on Everest ;).

Keep on climbing O0