Seven Must-Learn Mountaineering Skills Before Attempting Your First Summit

Viewing the summit-shots of successful mountaineers, we could be forgiven for thinking there’s not much to the art of mountaineering other than healthy levels of strength, stamina, fitness, courage and, of course, a good beard. Above, however, we have chosen our words very carefully, for mountaineering is indeed an ‘art’ and as such an exacting discipline that requires proficiency in far more technical and nuanced skills than first meet the eye and than many assume. Before conquering your first summit, most of these are likely to come into play at some point and others likely to be absolutely prerequisite to a successful and safely-completed climb. Below we take you through eight of the most important of these skills and how they can help you on your way to summiting that all-important first peak.

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1. Navigation

Route-finding in the high mountains can be a tricky business. Added to the trouble of snowcover hiding way-markers, signs, notable features, and the often exasperating disappearance of the ‘trail’ on rock (as opposed to earth), the weather can always decide to take a turn for the worse and make things a whole lot more complicated and interesting by far. Compass and map-reading skills and the ability to navigate in low to zero visibility are things you don’t want to head into the mountains without having mastered.

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