Nobody has posted here for ages! So I thought I would get the ball rolling. How many of you got into backpacking through climbing?
My science teacher was a member of the Spokane Mountaineers and put up a "mountain school" poster in class. I was 16 years old and went to mountain school and was hooked in an instant. One of my first real climbs was Mt. Rainier. Weather was perfect and I was lead up by a fantastic old time club mountaineer. I wondered what all the fuss was about Mt. Rainier. Then I got to rock climbing with two married Air Force guys. My folks would not let me climb with boys my age, and who knows why, but the let me climb with Miles and Hank. Miles immediately made me wear a helmet. That was back in the days when few wore them. He was going to night school to be a high school counselor - I think I was is "project". While at University of Washington, I joined the outing club and met NOLS instructors. I got a chance to be a NOLS instructor and again was hooked and spent 7 years teaching climbing. I already knew climbing but at NOLS I learned real outdoorsmanship.
I always backpacked while my kids were young. My youngest daughter became my good backpack partner for a while. When all kids were out of the house and I moved to California I again got into technical climbing. Wow had things changed in 15 years! I sort of do both now- backpack and climbing. I go a while doing rock climbing and get feeling like I really want to go out and cover more distance. Then I backpack for a few years and want to get back into more challenging climbing. The only thing I definitely do not do anymore is winter climbing. I just hate winter!
Because of coming to backpacking thorough climbing, I never much thought that I needed at trail. Trails merely are to quickly get you to where the real fun begins. Mountaineering is pretty intense - so I really enjoy the mental relaxation of backpacking. Bottom line, I just love being in the mountains. More and more, whether I bag a peak or not is not that important. And I find that mountaineering skills are really useful in off-trail backpacking too. Best thing about backpacking -- I do not have to carry 30 pounds of climbing gear!