Knowledge

A beginner ignorant of mountaineering gains knowledge from books, courses, mountain climbers—and from climbing. At the start, beginners won't even know they don't know: a novice might look at an avalanche-prone slope warming in the sun and not even be aware the party needs to ask itself whether there is a risk. But as they study and as they climb, beginners can add to their knowledge by keeping alert and asking questions.

A climber won't learn much by simply tagging along without paying attention to the climb, relying on others to make all the decisions and ending the day with not much more mountaineering knowledge than at the start. A climber with inadequate knowledge can mean danger to a climbing party, which may need to count on every member in an emergency—a poor time to have to unmask a climber's failings.

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