Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Climbing In Europe vs U.S.

This short essay by professional guide Caroline George points out some differences between climbing in the Alps vs. climbing in the U.S. It’s easier in the Alps because you don’t have to carry as much stuff with you. (I don’t mean that the technical climbing is easier, it’s the logistics that are easier.) Here’s one quote from her essay:

“I grew up and started climbing in the ‘comfort’ of the Alps. Alpine climbing would more often

Caroline George on the North Face of the Eiger

than not involve sleeping in a cozy hut, where the hut keeper would provide you with a nice meal before you fell asleep in an army blanket or comforter-covered bed until the wee hours of the morning, when a a pot of hot water and a basket of bread, butter and jam would await you on the dining table as the last meal before your climb. The atmosphere in European huts is usually very friendly….guiding in the Europe is more physically sustainable because you carry less weight on your back, making it less harmful to your body in the long run. I have suffered a great amount of injuries in my life, and a lighter pack makes it possible for me to guide back-to-back without being in too much pain. Getting to good climbing in the Alps is often only a cable car away and you can be home in the evening, making it possible to have a family life. In the US, you have to have be gone for days at a time. As a woman, being able to be home most nights is essential to my sanity as a guide.”

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