If you were to become a Doctor, Lawyer, Accountant - the very first thing you do is pick up a book.... for a period of time you would learn from that book.... when you are done reading the books, the foundation of what you have learned from those books start to form, then you start your practical experience, hands on. You in fact are not considered a Doctor, Lawyer or Accountant until you have had the hands on exerience combined with theory.
Would it not be safe to say, a new climber should read everything they can "before" attemtping a "small" climb.
I see it as both, reading and actively climbing before one could call themself experienced. I will never climb and I continue to read, I may be well informed on climbing, but that does not make me experienced.
Totally agree. First thing you need to learn is that you only gain real experience in the the mountains, but that it is dangerous to just head out without any previous knowledge.
Go on a course, hire a guide and read before you start the course.
What if someone new to climbing just said:
"Ah, I read on some website that you can only get experience in the mountains, so I am not going to bother reading 'Freedom of the hills
' but just go up Mt Rainier tomorrow. I guess that my nike's and cotton sweater will be warm enough to make it up and down, it's just another hill isn't it?."
You can learn from books/sites outdoor shops what a crampon is, clothing layers, AMS and more. You can read about epics and discuss with otherw why it (almost) went wrong. But as Buddha said you can never learn how to fix a stove at -20 from your armchair and it would help if someone who has done it before is with you at the time that happens.Every mountain can be dangerous.
You can get experience of how to get killed in the mountains only once.
Be prepared, know your basics (can be done by reading books/sites, visiting outdoor shops
, talking to other climbers) and when you go out, bring a more experienced partner, or go on a course which is essentially the same thing.
But make sure who you talk to. Someone who wants
to climb Rainier/Denali/Whitney/Everest and has read all about it is not the same as someone who has actually been there
and can share his/her firsthand experience
Now Trunl, where are those Whitney pics? Just show them and we can all close this case