Learn to Mountain Climb
I love the changing of the years, letting go of the past 2014, welcoming in the newness of 2015. Looking ahead, I‘ve decided to gift my sister tomatoes and myself with once a month places to consider visiting or doing that are unusual opportunities to learn something or see something new you might not have considered before just because you didn’t know about it. This idea came to me while listening to the yearly television must see, the original Sound of Music. At this point in time, I have no idea how many times I have seen the movie. But whenever it is on TV, I can’t resist watching it from beginning to end. I do love the soundtrack.
This year, while bellowing out “Climb Every Mountain,” I began wondering where would I go if I really and truly wanted to find out how to actually climb a real, honest-to-goodness mountain? The answer came to me, Mountain Madness.
I’ve done some hiking and, in all honesty, I think I enjoy driving through mountains rather than climbing them, but I don’t really know how to actually prepare to climb a real mountain. Maybe I should. I enjoy going to the Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden, Connecticut. Originally named Mount Carmel, it’s not a very rugged climb along a wide path up the Traprock (basalt) mountain common across Connecticut and Massachusetts, up to its highest point at 739 feet.
The great opportunity is to learn how to climb mountains and go as high as you want. Mountain Madness Alpine Mountaineering School offers mountaineering courses in the North Cascades and Olympic National Parks, the Alpine Lakes, Glacier Peak, and Mount Baker Wilderness areas. Once you know what you are doing, they also sponsor and know about climbing opportunities around the world.
Select from the basics to the most advanced skills; level one requires no previous experience, and includes an Introduction to Mountaineering, a Glacial Mountaineering course, and both 8 and 13 day Alpine Climbing courses. Level two courses include an Expedition Training course in the North Cascades, and Alpine Ice Climbing courses. Level three offers expeditions to the Pickets Traverse, a sub-range of the North Cascades, and one of the few remaining alpine mountain wild lands in the United States. They also have programs offered specifically for women mountain climbers. Explicit details are available on their Web site, mountainmadness.com, as well as dates, itineraries, costs, qualifications, equipment needed, client/guide ratios, and climbing grades. The sky is the limit.
Mountain Madness (3018 SW Charleston St., Seattle, WA 98126; 206-937-8389; 1-800-328-5925; fax 206-937-772; www.mountainmadness.com; info@Mountainmadness.com; offers Intro to Mountaineering, 4 days: Glacier Mountaineering, 6 days; and Alpine Mountaineering, 8 or 13 days).
Sleeping Giant State Park, 200 Mount Carmel Avenue, Hamden, CT 06518; 203-287-5658.