TLDR; I’m climbing full time this winter. How do I “upskill” from a thoroughly mediocre Mid-Atlantic climber to W. Ridge of Hunter-capable?
I tried casual alpinism, and that’s not working. At 28, it’s now or never to see how hard I can go. To that end, I’m dedicating this winter (and beyond?) to alpine “upskilling”. What I dorkily refer to as upskilling is focused on a blend of improving climbing and logistic efficiency. I’m not worried about fitness so much as having the technical chops to stay safe in the mountains. Long term, I’m not interested in leading M9d at Ouray so much as doing routes like the West Ridge of Hunter or the Cassin.
To get there, I figure I just need experience suffering in progressively less controlled environments, but I commend myself to you, the experts. I climb 5.7 (that’s a guess since my test crag is Seneca Rocks, WV) and WI3+ comfortably. Furthermore, I am confident in my ability to not get myself or someone else killed; I’ve got a healthy respect for bailing. I would like to do more than bail off the first 200ft of Mt. Hunter though. Should I focus on pushing my grade or just getting a ton of mileage in at those grades in the coldest and most sustained ways safely possible?
I currently plan on spending about a month in the NYs Adirondaks and NHs White Mtns before making a trip to Katahdin. After that follows the Michigan Ice Fest, some time in Hyalite, more time in Colorado climbing mixed routes, and yet more time in the Sierras before who knows what else.
I’m flying this dream-powered airship through the fog, so please let me know the way.
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