One steadfast r ule-of-thumb is to star t early, hence the ter m “alpine star t.” This might mean hiking in the day before to biv y near the base of the route. If a l l goes well, you’l l be sipping cocktails by late afternoon. However, if you’re caught in an afternoon thunderstor m in lousy weather, you may be forced to beat a hast y retreat, or r isk getting benighted. Neither is a pleasant option.
When climbing in the ’pine it’s rare to encounter bolts, although the occasional r ust y piton can make an appearance. Bring extra webbing to back up anchors and a small knife to remove old wornout webbing. Be aware that most mountain routes have debr is and loose rock and you’ l l likely be r unning it out. Tread careful ly and always wear a helmet.