Mountaineers are a strange breed. We happily go forth and submit ourselves to extreme physical exertion, long days and tough challenges. But hey, what can we say, we like it that way. Even still, there are many different types of mountaineering personalities. Like a fine cup of coffee, you can tell our preferences by the sublties of our awkward goggles tan, the way our gear hangs from our packs or the number of exotic passport stamps we collect. Which type of mountaineer are you?
You love to check the boxes. High points are your thing, and you’re looking to climb them all. It doesn’t matter if the peak is boring, burly or insurmountable, you’ve gotta climb it. If there’s a way that people have organized the mountains you’re on it and you love to collect ’em all. Some of your favorite lists are:
- The Ultra 57s
- Colorado’s 14ers
- The Seven Summits
(See what I did there?) Bring it on checkboxes, you’re ready to color them silly!
The Ultra-Lite Euro-Climber
What is a mountaineer anyway? Psshh, you’re an alpinist baby! When it comes to the mountains, you mean to go light. And by light I mean, ultra-light. Sure, you may have a lot of gear because we all understand that safety is number one in the high-alpine, but when it comes to your pack you keep it minimal. So minimal, in fact, you prefer to have most of your gear strapped to your pack, not actually stored inside of it. Why? Because Chamonix.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, you’re ready to join the rag-tag bin of loonies they call mountaineers. Welcome to our silly, serious and definitely nutty group of type-2 fun hogs. You haven’t yet learned some of the finer skills of mountaineering (like pooping in a bag while wearing a harness), but your stoke level is high and that’s what counts.
You’ve got all the safety measures down, you’ve been training, read all the mountaineering tips you can get your hands on and you’re ready for your first peak. Your perfect climb involves a little hillwalking, a bit of boulder hopping and a whole lot of Vitamin L. Get after it!
The Mountain Hipster
“Uh, so, I climbed this mountain last weekend, but you’ve probably never heard of it.” Sound familar? You live for the obscure peak. Lists are far too “mainstream” to pique your interested. Your favorite mountain is the one that no one has heard of. It might not be the tallest, but it’s obscure, usually requiring some type of hellish approach.
The fewer people who’ve climbed it the better, because you enjoy not having a line of headlamps up the mountain while on dawn patrol. Some people may think you’re elitist, but you don’t really care because you’re in it for the bomber rock and secluded views.
The International Peak Bagger
Does this mountain require a long plane ride to an exotic destination? Then you’re on board. Passports stamps and peaks are one in the same for you. You like to take your mountaineering career overseas and with good reason, the terrain can be gnarly, the food exotic and the challenge of adapting to a time change and the altitude? Well, everyone knows that’s more difficult. Co-workers think your definition of a vacation is physical abuse, but sitting by a beach with a drink with an umbrella is so boring!
The High Alpine Assault Climber
Your the person that takes done-in-a-day to the max. You take sufferfest to a whole new level with those burly 24-mile days that include 8,000 feet of gain and plenty of bushwhacking. Oh and I forgot to mention you needed to ascend 12 pitches of rock too. You may have even biked, hiked and skied a mountain all in the same day. Your super-human strength has even us mountaineers scratching our heads.
The Running Mountaineer
Your calves are as big as my thighs and I still don’t understand how you can run up a mountain with nothing but a water vest. We all bow down to your incredible endurance because walking up the trail just isn’t enough. You’ve gotta run. At times we mistake you for a mountain goat with the way you glide over rocks and tackle boulder fields in nothing but a flimsy pair of trail runners. No time for summit selfies, you’ve gotta beat that Strava record.
The Winter Die-Hard
You’re never really a mountaineer until you’ve had a 15-mile death march through two feet of fresh snow. Summer trailheads are for wusses and you don’t understand why someone doesn’t want to climb rock with ice on it. You live for the frozen nose hairs, icy winds and thwacking sound your tools make in the mixed rock. In winter you earn it and everyone knows it.
So which mountaineer personality type best suits your style of climb? I’ve got no shame in admitting that I’m the mountain hipster through and through. Let me know in the comments below!
Want more mountain content? Be sure to check out some of my other musings.