Mountaineering with Class: 5 Tips to Get You to the Top & Back Home Safely

Either you’re trekking the moderate fjellds in the Finnish Lapland or climbing the highest peaks of the Himalaya, there are a few mountain gear essentials you need to get to the top of a mountain. And more importantly – to back down.

1. Preparing the Gear

Every success is built in beforehand, so do your homework. A good preparation is what usually makes the difference between reaching your summit or not.

Plan the route. Get to know the logistics. Study maps, blogs, pics and vids to get an idea. Find the cruxes on your route. Work out, make sure you’re ready for the physical push. Eat your proteins. You can not prepare too well for a trip. Bear in mind that things usually go wrong so be prepared for surprises as well.

2. The Mountain Gear

Good gear won’t guarantee you success but bad mountain gear will make sure you won’t have any. So gear up! Make sure you have all you need and everything works, always go through your gear a few times before take-off. Don’t compromise, bad or broken mountain gear can make the difference in getting to the top. Always bring a wool beanie, your head is your most vulnerable place in terms of heat loss. 

3. Pace

Ok, so now you’re prepared, you've got the mountain gear, you’re at your destination and you’re moving. You’ve planned this for a long time and you finally have the summit in sight. Don’t rush! Rushing will make you miss the sights. You want to breathe in the landscape, taste the views and enjoy your steps. This is what it’s eventually all about, not just the summit. Remember that distance has never killed anyone, only speed has. Take it easy and save your energy, you’ll need it on your way down.

4. The Will to Climb

Climbing any mountain is about 30% physical and 70% of mental strength. You’ll want to turn around like a dozen times on your way up so it’s eventually a matter of will that will get you on top. The further you push it, the more your body wants to quit, but it’s amazing what the human body is capable of when you set your mind to it. But always keep in mind that in mountaineering the summit is only the halfway point. You have reached nothing until you are safely back down. 

5. Respect the Nature

You can have all the fitness, mountain gear and willpower in the world but you can never beat the conditions. If nature turns on you, don’t fight it. Bailing and going down in face of a storm is way more heroic than trying to fight one through for nothing more than a summit pic. Respect the fact that you are but a grain of sand and let nature decide if you make it or break it.

Climb safe!

Best, Teemu Suominen


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