Trip Preparation and Climber Requirements

Mountaineering, Rock Climbing and Ski Mountaineering are demanding activities and are very serious undertakings. The more prepared you are, the more enjoyable your trip will be. Being physically fit is very important, and can make dealing with hazards less dangerous. All participants must be free of medical or physical conditions which could create undue risk to themselves or to others that depend on them. Our programs operate in remote locations where advanced medical care and evacuation may not be available for hours or days.

On some trips you will be carrying heavy loads. Sleeping and eating conditions on overnight trips are not always ideal. Weather is often unpredictable and may disrupt climbing. The mountain environment can be very changeable, and you must be prepared for any weather. In the Oregon Cascades, you will be climbing at altitudes up to 11,245 feet. For our international programs, you may be climbing at or above 20,000 feet.

You must prepare yourself mentally and physically for the many challenges. It will all be worthwhile.

Medical Considerations

If you have had a recent injury, illness, or surgery, or if you have a medical condition such as asthma or allergies to food or medications, you should consult with us as well as your physician before signing up for any trip. If there is any doubt as to your ability to participate in this activity, you should have a physical examination by a physician.

Personal Responsibility

We make every effort to provide you with a secure and successful climb. Climbing and mountaineering involve inherent risks that are beyond our control. You will assume the responsibility for many decisions affecting the safety of your trip. We do not assume liability for injuries or death. All participants are completely responsible for all medical and hospital costs associated with any injury, rescue or evacuation. You must sign a release form and go at your own risk.

If you are interested in rescue insurance you may want to check with the American Alpine Club and theirGlobal Rescue Service.

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions:

Do I really need all the items on the equipment list?
Yes. We have selected the gear required for your program with great care in the hope that we will be prepared for any weather conditions. It can snow at any time of year in the mountains.

How can I improve my acclimatization to the higher altitude?
The key to this is to try to be well hydrated, and well fed before your trip begins. Another helpful tactic is to spend some time at 6000’ at Timberline Lodge before your trip. If you aren’t staying at Timberline, consider coming a couple days earlier and taking some day hikes above the lodge to gradually expose your body to the increased demands of exertion at altitude.

What kind of physical conditioning should I be doing to prepare?
Most mountaineering challenges involve long duration and medium to low intensity. All of our mountaineering climbs require very good physical fitness. To participate in any of our mountaineering climbs, you should be able to hike or climb for 5 to 6 hours with a 20 to 40 pound pack and ascend 3,000 to 4,000 feet of vertical gain per day.

In order to prepare for such a feat, you should be exercising 3 to 4 times per week for at least one hour per session. We recommend doing long hikes on your days off that are at least 6-8 hours long and involve at least 3,000 vertical feet of ascent and descent.

The guide will make a decision to turn back if he feels that the group is being placed in jeopardy. We are not in a position to evaluate your fitness level, so it is up to you to evaluate it. If you are overweight or are in poor health, please consult your doctor before signing up for any trip.

Do I tip my guides?
While it is not required it is customary to tip your guide if you feel they did a standout job.

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