Some Rookie advice from a novice mountain hunter
So full disclosure most of my hunting has been done out of stands in the Midwest. This is my second season doing the whole alpine/mountain thing. Thought I would share a few things I did and what I would do different. Perhaps help flatten the learning curve a tad for the next person in my position.
So I did two hunts this year that were pretty intensive. One was a fly in goat hunt (successful) and one was a hike in goat/deer hunt(no tags punched). The first hunt I learned a couple of things. First off, trekking poles are awesome. They saved my butt a couple times and made traversing some sections doable. The thing I did not have, that I took for my second trip was an ice axe. BUY AN ICE AXE. This thing was amazing. It was a 70 dollar one I got off Amazon, and it made going up and down steep sections a lot easier. I would also buy covers for it will strapped to your pack. I did not...so some electrical tape had to do. In regards to the axe, also make sure it in anchored before you move. I had a couple times going down hill that I needed it to stick, well that feeling of it hitting a rock and bouncing off while you are slipping is zero fun. It is also amazing how little soil it needs to get a firm hold. I also always tried to aim for anything that has roots. Those little bushes/plants in the alpine have great root systems and will hold very well.
Distance over danger. If you need to lose some elevation gained or go a little further to take a safer route DO IT. And on that note stay out of rock shoots/very dry creek beds. On my climb up during my fly in goat hunt, my partner and I were 10 feet apart going side by side up the mountain. After a moment We realized that we could not get to each other as a small but steep ridge had come between us. So in lieu of going back down, we decided to just meet up at the top (about another 200 vertical feet). I had ended up in a pretty steep but doable rock slide. As I got higher up it got very narrow and very steep. Rocks were falling with every step and I got super hairy. At the top there were some boulders about the size of a Fiat. I just needed to get on the side of one and there was a path up. It seemed sturdy until I was halfway up and it started to give way. It was the one time in my life I honestly thought I might die. I had to flying squirrel my self off to the side and clung to the hill side with all my might. The boulder fell and I rolled onto a flat perch. Took about 10 minutes for my heart to get normal. I reached the top...buddy is not there yet...dang. Ok so another point, don't let your buddy out of your sight. It is a lonely feeling up top when you can't see anyone. I ended up heading down a little to find him. He actually headed down a little and started up my rock path. Had to tell him to turn around, guided him up.
Train to your strengths. I am square 6 foot 250lb guy. Short legs and arms but very very strong. I did a lot of squats, dead lifts, and pack hikes to get ready. My buddy is tall and lighter, he did a lot more cardio. You could see in our hiking styles who trained how. I would do small short bursts then quick rest. He was more of the slow and steady type. I Never really felt winded, more fatigue in the legs by the end of the day. Also my traps seemed to take a lot of the force. I suggest more shrugs and some farmers carries.
Hope someone somewhere finds this helpful. I'm off the mountains for a bit, on to shooting deer on the beach.
Thanks for sharing, this will help some for sure.
Yes, Thank you for sharing! As a rookie mountain/alpine hunter I have made some mistakes that too could have proved very costly in life and limb.
I went on an ascent recently and left my Trekking poles at the base of the climb because through the binos it looked like "it should flatten out a bit towards the top"... I was wrong, way wrong!
Also the recommendation for the ice ax, never thought of that until i was face first slipping and digging my hands into the cranberry, and blueberry growth that was both guilty for my slippage but my only hope at stopping before I had to rely on the alders below for brake power... That was not a god feeling and one I do not want to ever feel again.
Would like to add, for me at least, make sure you have plenty of water when you begin your ascent, as you will probably drink more than you thought from exertion. Having to ration it sucks, but then again so does the extra weight going up.
Anyways great thread, and I look forward to some input from the guys that have been doing this for a long time.
Wow, thanks for the post - I'm with you on growing up hunting midwest (Mich) deer but been here over 22 years now - completely different! I know for myself if i need an Ice Axe to stop my slide that was a place I should have never been to start with! Good on you though for figuring out what works & making it happen!