"If you've never climbed a mountain but want to start, start small," says Dave Kelly, climbing school manager for the Eastern Mountain Sports Climbing School. "There are lots of great mountains for beginners in the U.S.," he says. "The main thing is to go prepared." Kelly's six-step prescription for beginner mountain climbers
1. Learn how to read a trail map and use a compass.
2. Get good hiking boots, appropriate to the climate and condition you will be climbing in. Break them in before climbing.
3. Be prepared for the duration. Bring enough food and water for your climb.
4. Leave a plan of where you will go with someone who can call for help if you don't arrive on time at your destination.
5. Don't attempt a climb alone. Go with a climbing buddy who is as well prepared as you are.
6. Take a climbing lesson beforehand and be in shape when you go out on your first mountain climb.
Some of Kelly's recommendations for U.S. mountains for beginner climbers:
- Chimney Tops Trail,Great Smoky Mountains, GA
- Precipice Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME
- Pleasant Mountain, Denmark, ME
- Big Equinox Mountain, Manchester, VT
- Mount Mansfield, Stowe, VT
- Mount Monadnock, Jaffrey, NH
- Black Cap, North Conway, NH
- Mt. Chocorua, Chocorua, NH
- Catoctin Mountain, Blue Ridge Summit, MD
Kelly also recommends checking out the
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