Before you get started in mountaineering

Mountains can be intimidating and ominous, but in at least equal portion beautiful and inspiring. Let’s face the fact that if one wants to have a sportive hobby, there’s much easier options than climbing to the summit of a mountain. It might seem like a relatively straight forward sport, but as is the case with anything, there are a lot of subtleties involved in the sport. Before you start bagging peaks, you’re going to need to know a few things about mountain sport.
Interestingly, it wasn’t really until the mid-1800s that people began taking an interest in mountains as a source of recreation and beauty. Prior to that time mountains were just obstacles—things standing in the way of trade routes and travel—and not prized in the manner they are today. With the popularity of the Romantic Movement as well as the prevalence of the amateur naturalist mountaineering started becoming a hobby in its own right.
There was little to no special equipment in the early days and most of it was developed by the hikers and climbers themselves, especially in the Alps in Europe (to this day a great many of our words about mountaineering equipment and technique are loan words from the German spoken in the Alps of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany). Now however there hundreds of manufacturers of mountaineering equipment for every conceivable mountain activity.
Before you get started you’ll want to know what sort of sport you’re going to be partaking in. The shoes are dramatically different for hiking and climbing and even for the season in which you plan to do most of your sport. It’s a good idea to go down to your local sporting goods shop and have a talk with the employees who can undoubtedly give you advice on the equipment.
Mountaineering isn’t usually deemed a spectator sport, but that doesn’t meant that there aren’t competitions. In fact websites like even have the possibility of places bets on the outcomes of tournaments. So, if you’re interested in getting involved you might consider being a spectator because you start hitting the trails.
Regardless of how you get involved in mountain sport though, you need to be well-prepared and informed about how dangerous climbing and even hiking can be. If you’re doing in places where there are wild animals (like almost all of the United States and Canada) that’s just another precaution you’re going to have to take. Everywhere though you will need to have an understanding of basic first aid and by all means you’re going to want to take a first-aid kit with you when you actually start climbing. Although beautiful, mountains can be very dangerous places.
Nevertheless for thousands of people worldwide the rewards of the sport far overweigh the risks and you should worry about getting involved in climbing. Just remember to take someone more experienced with you on your first outings, and remember to have fun!