Transition from Rock to Alpine Rock

Recently I wrote an article for Gripped on key skills to learn in making the transition from front country rock multipitch to alpine rock climbing. The jump can be a daunting one, as you leave a book with pitch by pitch route descriptions and topos and embrace the 4 sentence description of a peak with what seems to have limitless options.

Of course, the greater the unknown, the greater the reward as well, and with the appropriate tools, there are endless opportunities to make the most of all the amazing peaks around us.

The past 4 years, I have been running Alpine Rock Efficiency courses for the Calgary Section Alpine Club. The main focus of these courses was to give rock climbers tools to head into the mountains and take on rock alpine objectives. The courses can also be great next steps for the advanced Scrambler so that they have some tools to deal with short technical sections on Rockies “scrambles”. What I have learned over the years developing this course though, is that it is difficult to move from soloing scrambles to making the decisions to pitch out a section safely. it is much easier to take the rock climber and teach them how to minimize what they already know and develop short pitching skills.


Essentially, short pitching, is the main key. I was fortunate enough to spend a couple wonderful May weekends with some motivated ACCers at Rundle Rock. I hope they all have safe and adventurous summers ahead!


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *