Nine Common Beginner Climbing and Mountaineering Mistakes To Avoid

Whatever pursuits we turn our hands to in life, as beginners the chances of making mistakes are exceedingly high. Climbing and mountaineering are no exception to this rule, only the potential consequences of our errors in either of these high-risk activities are considerably more severe than in most others. While in some leisure pursuits mistakes are a prerequisite to mastery and can be quickly forgotten once committed. But, on the rock, no such luxury is granted: mistakes here, unfortunately, are most likely to result in some form of injury or even death for you or your climbing partners. Luckily, these mistakes are not inevitable and can be easily avoided with a bit of practice, care and know-how. Below, and in no particular order we take you through nine of the most common beginner mountaineering mistakes.


1. Getting Lost

Sh*t happens. In the high mountains, weather conditions can change quickly and seriously impact visibility and orientation. While route-finding and getting our bearings is usually not too difficult in good weather, when immersed in thick fog or cloud the nature of our climb changes drastically. A hugely-underrated skill often overlooked by newcomers to mountaineering is the use of a map and compass, an ability which just might prove to be lifesaving in such a scenario. Time and practice are required, but navigation skills can be developed gradually and in low-risk situations. To start with, practice on easy terrain without too many notable features and try to find your way around, taking bearings and setting directions of travel. When you venture into the mountains, even in good visibility, take frequent breaks to consult your map and get used to navigating with the aid of a compass.

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