Style and Verifications
Because any activity in the mountains is very different depending the conditions of the route, the style and the support it is important to specify:
Supported (expedition style*): It is a support team or person that meets you along the way to supply whatever you need, or the use of pacers. This generally allows for the fastest, lightest trips, and for an element of camaraderie and safety, since someone knows about where you are at all times.
Self-supported (Semi-alpine*): You don’t carry everything you need from the start, but you don’t have a team or person helping you. It can be that you put out supplies for yourself prior to the trip, or that you use the things out there, such as stores, mountain huts, etc. Or that the route is prepared (no opening tracks)
Unsupported (Alpine style*): You have no external support of any kind. You carry all your supplies right from the start, except any water that can be obtained along the way from natural sources.
- Team: a team of 2 or more climbers using rope.
- Solo: Free climbingClimbing alone and no use or carry of any protection system or to abseil. *Simul Solo (when we climb in solo but with a partner)
- Rope Solo: Climbing alone (free or aid) but using or carring protection gear or to abseil.
- First Ascent: A route nobody has done before.
- Onsight: A repetition of a route that has been done before but you done for the first time and without any informations of the route.
- Flash: A repetition of a route that has been done before but you done for the first time with informations of the route.
- Winter: done during winter
- Other persons / expeditions in the mountain
- Alone in the mountain (no other expeditions)
Alpine: From basecamp to summit directly and carrying everything required. Previous acclimatization is required. This can be achieved in other mountain, or even in a different and easier route of the same mountain. *Alpine – Nonstop: there is no use of tents, and the climbing is done day and night with non-stop push.
Semi-alpine: Involves acclimatizing in the same route and leaving deposits along the route to facilitate ascending lighter and faster during the summit push (final ascent)
Capsule style: Is a variant of the Alpine style used in routes with high technical difficulties, and its based on the techniques used to open big walls. There is a camp established at the point where difficulties start. The camp has all material required for the whole expedition. From there we move up in the route the time required to finish with all ropes available to protect the route, and we descent to the camp every night. Once we finish the rope, we move the whole camp and we recover the rope to continue with the same strategy. Normally on the summit push the route is not fully protected as before, but alpine techniques are used instead. Once the ascent finished, the whole camp must be dismantled and taken down. Normally on the way up we prepare abseiling points to facilitate this. It’s a very slow process which facilitates acclimatization.
Heavy or Expedition style: From Base Camp (BC) climbers and/or porters and guides prepare and provision advanced camps. The distance between these can be easily covered in just one day. The difficult sections are protected with fixed ropes and bamboo flags, which are used to mark dangerous places and facilitated the progression and descent in difficult conditions. All this process helps acclimatizing. Once all camps are ready and climbers are acclimatized, a weather window is set to execute the summit push.
Guided: One or mode guides work on installing ropes and camps, supervising all actions and taking care of security. * Leaded: A guide takes care of all logistics up to BC or Advanced BC (ABC), being responsible for directing the rope fixing and installation of camps, but not responsible for security of climbers. Climbing leaders must be able to advise climbers via radio at all times.
HOW TO VERIFY A FKT OR AN ACTIVITY
Systems and proofs to verify a FKT or activity.
-Satellite Trackers: Satellite trackers (ex. SPOT, Delorme…) Advantages: Provide real-time tracking information that can’t easily be faked. Disadvantages: they need a clear view of the sky. Carrying the tracker on top of your shoulder is way better than in your pocket or the bottom of your pack. Also, trees can block the signal. If you want to be in autonomy and no comunication tthis devices can be used as sending emergency message or rescue tracking so not the same engagement as without. In tracking mode under dense trees you may find that the signal doesn’t get through to the satellite very often, and you may find the device burning through batteries. The precision of the track can be not super precise (+- 100m)
-Cell Phone Trackers: Many smartphone apps have become available that provide real-time tracking functionality somewhat comparable to the SPOT & DeLorme satellite devices. These apps REQUIRE cell service to work, and burns battery fast.
GPS Watches / Strava / GarminConnect (etc.): GPS devices that do not report your position in real time but you can export a GPX file with timmings and localisations. The problems can come from battery and precision. At more precision of gps (more points per minute) less battery, so in long activities the gps precision can be not very accurate. Strong wind can affect the precision, water in the sensor too. As for the GPS trackers, in forests or steep slopes (as climbing, or under roofs) the signal can be lost.
Photos / videos: Images can form an important part of verification. Some simple tips make them even more valuble as verification. Digital photos can have data encoded in them (time and localisation). If you take photos with a smartphone, enabling location services for the phone’s camera will result in each photo file containing location data as well as time. Of course, another way to encode location data in a photo is to photograph identifiable landmarks (signs, obvious features). It appears that GPS data for pictures and videos is more acurate than gps watches or trackers (gps activate for less time so more use of battery but more precision)
Trip Report and witnesses: The most time-honored means of verification is a detailed trip report written of your trip (based on detailed notes taken during the trip, such as daily exercises, where you were when, weather observations, people you met, etc.)