Establishing a climbing style

Do you plan to climb "expedition style" or "alpine style" or somewhere in between? There's a big difference, and it's a question you need to resolve early, based on the route, the size and strength of your party, and the preference of the climbers.

Traditional expedition climbing style involves multiple carries between camps, during which food, fuel, and supplies are ferried to higher camps. Technically difficult sections of the route are often protected with fixed lines—ropes anchored in place to minimize danger during repeated trips up and down. It's a slow and measured campaign for the summit.

Alpine climbing style usually means moving camps up the mountain in a continuous push, so that the route is climbed only once. All equipment and supplies are carried with the team at all times.

It's a light, quick bid for the top.

Expedition-style ascents take longer because more time is spent hauling loads between camps. They are heavier because more food, fuel, and perhaps fixed line must be carried, and more costly because of the greater time, equipment, and food. Alpine-style trips tend to be riskier as there is less margin of safety in case of bad weather or injury.

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