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Topic Date User
Alpine courses? 17-Feb-2006 At 3:12:15 PM gemmaw
I did the shorter/cheaper course with Mountain Recreation in NZ over 10yrs ago and although I think we covered a fair bit at the time, I later realised there was alot of stuff we didn't cover which was perhaps more important stuff. Their attitude was just go up there and learn, but this also has a downside in that the course wasn't very structured and so we just learnt things when confronted with a situation. Eg. A friend who did the same course later, did completely different things to what I did. It may have improved though (?). Your friend needs to check out what is covered by each company's course, and definately go for a longer course because they can fit in more (and count on bad weather days).

I think the most important alpine skills to learn are mountain safety - how to read snow conditions, negotiate glaciers, pick lines and move through the mts, assess weather - although alot of this is learning through experience too - and also snow/ice anchors & belays etc. How to walk in crampons, self-arresting, climbing techniques, rope-work and such are the easy bits which you can learn almost anywhere, even out of books - by the way 'Freedom of the Hills' is an excellent reference book (the bible!) which is great for brushing up on techniques.

The good thing about the NZ courses is that conditions and terrain in the NZ mts are similar to many of the big mt ranges in the world, so it's a great training ground.

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