Sunday, August 30, 2009
Basic Mountaineering School is a class offered by the Colorado Mountain Club in Golden, CO. It is designed to hone the skills of a budding mountaineer in the areas of route finding, crampons, ice axe, rock climbing, and confidence building. This class did all of that and more. While I feel good at altitude on routes that require minor rock climbing and scrambling, true rock climbing with rocks, biners, rappelling, and knowledge of rock climbing knots were an area that I had little knowledge of...this class addressed that.
Mt. Bancroft stands at 13,250' and is a class 3/class 4 climb (read scrambling/low rock climbing) with the additional cruxes of an 80' rappel, low 5.2 rock climbing and serious exposure on the ridgeline (read "a fall here is fatal). We left the trailhead at 6:30 AM and after 4 hours of scrambling, climbing, rappeling, and trekking stood on the summit. I have to admit this mountain pushed me as some of the "unprotected" areas were sketchy but with the instructors giving their assurance I was able to get past these areas and continue to build solid mountaineering skills that I'm sure will come in handy in the future.