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FAQ

Questions related to trekking programs

Trekking, hiking and mountaineering

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Mountain trekking programs of MCS AlexClimb

What is trekking and hiking? What are the similarities and differences between these types of outdoor activities?

Which mountain programs from the MCS AlexClimb collection relate to the trekking category?

Mountain trekking route at the foot of the Teide volcano, Tenerife island
Mountain trekking route at the foot of the Teide volcano, Tenerife island

In mountaineering terminology, trekking usually refers to mountain walking routes of varying difficulty, lasting more than 1 day. The main difference between trekking and mountaineering is that the goal of the trekking route is not always to climb to the summit.

On a trekking route on Mount Kenya, Africa
On a trekking route on Mount Kenya, Africa

Trekking is the most accessible form of mountain travel that does not require special training.

On a trekking route in Svanetia, Georgia
On a trekking route in Svanetia, Georgia

To avoid misunderstanding, I will define another term that is often confused with the concept of trekking - although this is not exactly the same thing. Hiking - that is walking on a short, uncomplicated routes lasting no more than 1 day, it is not associated with the need to organize overnight stays or cover significant distances.

Classic clothing for hiking
Classic clothing for hiking

This type of outdoor activity appeared in Europe in the 18th century and was positioned as a “pleasant walk in nature.” We use numerous variations of hiking routes in our active programs in the European Alps, the Caucasus, Armenia, Mallorca, Tenerife, etc. Hiking routes are not of interest as independent full time activities.

On the trekking route in Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru
On the trekking route in Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru

In addition, many entry-level mountain routes are formally classified as trekking routes, since they do not present any technical difficulties for climbing. However, when using the term “trekking” in relation to a mountaineering route, it should be understood that this is just an assessment of the low technical complexity of the mountaineering route.

On the trekking route at the foot of Mount Elbrus, Caucasus
On the trekking route at the foot of Mount Elbrus, Caucasus

In addition to technical difficulties, climbing summit may have other difficulties and dangers inherent in mountaineering. “Trekking” mountaineering routes include many routes of initial difficulty category - Mount Elbrus, Mount Kilimanjaro, Peak Kosciuszko, Cerro Aconcagua, Nevado Ojos del Salado, Mount Bazarduzu, Mount Ararat, Teide Volcano and many other peaks, for which no equipment is required for climbing, or just a minimal set of climbing gear is used.

On the trekking route to Peak Kosciuszko, Australia
On the trekking route to Peak Kosciuszko, Australia

Mountain programs in the trekking category are not included in the main thematic group of the mountain travel, which is carried out by the MCS AlexClimb School. Our specialization for many years has been focused on the technical programs in mountaineering, rockclimbing and iceclimbing.

Beautiful trekking in the Milford Sound fjord in New Zealand, after climbing Mount Cook
Beautiful trekking in the Milford Sound fjord in New Zealand, after climbing Mount Cook

However, in some cases it becomes necessary to conduct easy trekking programs in the mountains. In particular, this may be due to the need for high-altitude acclimatization, splitting the group (if not all participants are ready for difficult climbs), adding extra 2-3-day activities in rockclimbing or iceclimbing programs in order to diversify the daily training routine.

Communication with wildlife while trekking in the Bezengi region
Communication with wildlife while trekking in the Bezengi region

Thus, we have naturally formed a small set of interesting, non-trivial trekking routes that are related with activity in the mountains, but are not associated with climbing summits. We have placed these programs in a separate category “Mountain Trekking”.

Trekking climb of Mount Laila in Svanetia, Georgia
Trekking climb of Mount Laila in Svanetia, Georgia

Programs in this Trekking category are divided into two groups – “serviced” and “unserviced” trekking.

“Serviced” trekking routes are the most relaxed and most comfortable form of mountain travel. Pack animals or porters are used to transport cargo; food preparation, setting up camps and other group duties are performed by the personnel accompanying the group.

On the trekking route in Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru
On the trekking route in Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru

This is the most comfortable and safe format of travel in the mountains, physical activity on these routes is minimal, the level of comfort is the highest possible in the format of a mountain travel. A good example of this category is our 11-day circular trekking route in Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru.

Breakfast during an serviced trekking in Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru
Breakfast during an serviced trekking in Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru

Or the shorter Santa Cruz trekking route. Participation in the “serviced” trekking programs is available without restrictions on age or skill level. (children can only participate if accompanied by their parents)

The category of “unserviced” treks includes routes on which it is impossible or difficult to organize support for the group by additional personnel.

On an unserviced trekking route in Svanetia, Georgia
On an unserviced trekking route in Svanetia, Georgia

On such a route, participants are required to independently carry personal belongings, equipment and food, independently prepare food and perform other communal duties. As a rule, this is a more intense and physically demanding format of mountain travel.

On the trekking route in the area of Mount Bazarduzu in Dagestan
On the trekking route in the area of Mount Bazarduzu in Dagestan

An example is our trekking program “Autumn Kamchatka”, the “Traverse of Ishinca” in Peru, the 8-day trekking program to the Antarctic Ice Sheet in Patagonia and similar (often quite hard) routes.

On the serviced trekking route in Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru
On the serviced trekking route in Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru

If we would to explain the concept of “trekking” in Russian terms, then the English word “trekking” roughly corresponds to Russian concept of mountain tourism, with some historical clarifications.

On the mountain trekking route to the top of Ojos del Salado, Argentina
On the mountain trekking route to the top of Ojos del Salado, Argentina

During the Soviet era, mountain tourism, as a type of outdoor activity, was developed into independent sport and deliberately separated from mountaineering. In the Soviet format (which has no analogues in the global outdoor activity industry), mountain tourism has become a full-fledged sport, with its own Federation, a system of categories and titles, and a classification of routes. Various championships and competitions were held in mountain tourism, including “international” ones - with the participation of teams from different Soviet republics.

On the trekking route in eastern Georgia with 4x4 approach
On the trekking route in eastern Georgia with 4x4 approach

At the same time, the routes of highest categories of difficulty in the mountain tourism, were connected with the need to overcome obstacles of a purely mountaineering nature, characteristic of high-category mountaineering routes both in technical and altitude class.

On the trekking route in the North Caucasus, Adyl Su region
On the trekking route in the North Caucasus, Adyl Su region

The line dividing two types of mountain activities was the need or possibility of climbing the summit. If for mountaineering teams the main goal of the route was to climb to just the top, then mountain tourist groups were straightly prohibited from going to the summits. (Senseless prohibitions were a normal thing in the over formalized soviet system as a declaration of productive government activity)

On the trekking route in the Atlas Mountains, Africa, Morocco
On the trekking route in the Atlas Mountains, Africa, Morocco

This division of outdoor activities and their formalization was a consequence of excessive bureaucratization in all spheres of life and leisure of USSR citizens. The formal separation of two very similar activities gave to the Soviet officials the opportunity to form extra bureaucratic structures, receive social bonuses and additional funding.

On the trekking route in the Crimean mountains
On the trekking route in the Crimean mountains

In practice, such formalization did not benefit any of both activities - the development of mountaineering and sports mountain tourism was slowed down by unnecessary formal complications and inevitable competition between artificially separated directions within the same sphere of mountain travel.

Regardless of the format of your trip, spending time in the mountains is the best way to break out of the circle of bustle and gray everyday life. Every minute spent in the mountains is your internal capital of positive emotions!
Regardless of the format of your trip, spending time in the mountains is the best way to break out of the circle of bustle and gray everyday life. Every minute spent in the mountains is your internal capital of positive emotions!

The consequences of this period in the history of Russia are still felt in the form of distorted motivation in mountaineering and numerous formalities that have no connection with the real level of development of modern international mountaineering as an important element of the global tourism industry.

The author of the text and photos - Alex Trubachev
Your mountaineering, iceclimbing and rockclimbing guide

MCS EDIT 2023

Our Principles

AlexClimb Rule #1 - Safety First

From the very beginning of our activity, here nearly 16 years, the first Principle of work of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb is the Safety Priority. On the basis of this Principle all process of training is based, all programs and rounds are developed and carried out only within this main principle. We consider that at professional approach to development of programs, at personal discipline and correctly put motivation - occupations by mountaineering and rock-climbing are COMPLETELY safe. And from the return - all troubles and accidents in our sport come from nonprofessionalism, from ignorance or neglect by elementary standards of safety, from irrational motivation, from revaluation of own forces and opportunities. All these prerequisites we COMPLETELY EXCLUDE in our work - ours Rock-climbing, Ice climbing and Mountaineering are based on one Principle - the Safety Priority. In rock-climbing, mountaineering and ice climbing, the Priority of Safety of MCS AlexClimb-is your personal security and comfort irrespective of, than we are engaged - we train muscles and we work technology of the movement in the sports hall and on the rock climbing wall, we make the way through snowstorm to top or we relax on golden sand of the Caribbean beach after hot day of trainings on rocks. The Safety priority - the main credo of School of mountaineering and rock-climbing of MCS AlexClimb.

AlexClimb Rule #2 - Leave No Trace

Closely interacting with Nature, working with the active programs in mountains, woods, lakes and rivers, we perfectly understand the importance of carefull and respectfull bahavior towards the Nature, for its resources. From the very beginning of our outdoor-activity we adopted rules of  Leave No Trace technique - the standard of behavior of the person accepted in all the civilized world in relation to environment and especially - to the wild nature. After all on the relation of people to the nature near which they exist, itself can draw dalekoidushchy conclusions on the relation of these people to... Where and as we didn't travel - we don't reserve any garbage, we try to reduce whenever possible our influence on environment to a minimum. We clear earlier zagryazyonny tourist parking of the left garbage, we take out and we take out to utilization places that to us other people left there. We consider that only thus, at personal individual consciousness of each citizen, each tourist, climber or autotraveller, we will be able to keep the nature surrounding us in its state, natural, suitable for life, - in it pledge of the healthy future for ourselves and our children.

AlexClimb Rule #3 - Sober Concious

The position of AlexClimb Mountain and rockclimbing School regarding healthy lifestyle is quite clear - we consider that only sober consciousness is capable to fill sincere emotions,  to sympathize, to enjoy life in all its variety. Bright various enjoyable life is possible only on condition of keeping the absolute sobriety and purity of consciousness. Any way of obscuring our perception of reality is intended to do harm to our consciousness and bring harm to our physical health, to replace the true values by false ones, to destroy us physically - to turn us into flabby, weak, senseless, gray herd with empty hazy eyes. We don't force anybody to our point of view, everyone has a God's gift of making his own choice and to destroy himself if that is what he wants... But in AlexCilimb Mountain Climbing School we accept quite certain and very simple set of rules: neither alcohol, nor drugs.
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