Expedition Climbing

Expedition climbing does not represent a different type or standard of climbing as much as an expansion of the time scale for a climb. A weekend trip may involve several hours or a day for the approach to the peak, while an expedition can require two or three days of air travel followed by a day or two of land travel, followed by a ten-day hike into base camp. A rest break is not a 10- or 15-minute sit down, but may be an entire day spent lounging. The actual climbing is much the same as discussed in earlier chapters and in the winter climbing section of this chapter. The main differences between expedition climbing and other mountaineering come in the logistics of tackling a remote peak, the more severe weather likely to be encountered, and the challenge of climbing at high altitude.

The scope of this chapter is expeditions of three to four weeks, on relatively accessible 20,000- to 23,000-foot peaks, such as Alaska's Mount McKinley or Peru's Huascaran. Many of the techniques and considerations are similar to those of longer expeditions to higher peaks. However, there also are major differences in permits, hiring of porters, medical requirements, extremes of altitude and cold, use of oxygen, and so forth, that are beyond the scope of this chapter.

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