Backpackers travel for distance rather than for the purpose of summiting mountains, though both backpacking and peak-bagging might be done on the same trip. This type of travel allows you to access remote areas on your own power. Trips may range from a couple of days to months depending on your objective. Seasoned backpackers recommend carrying no more than 1/3 of your body weight.
Duration & Elevation: 2 days- multi-week trips over varying terrain.
Technical: No technical climbing involved
Pack: Carrying complete shelter, kitchen, layers, water and fuel. Pack weight ranges 16-25 kg
Fitness Attributes: Strong legs/”mountain chasis”, Endurance
Example Trip: The Overland Track – Tasmania
Peak baggers are in it for the summit. Peak bagging is done with a light pack and minimal supplies. Generally, these trips do not involve any technical climbing gear like ropes or harnesses. Rather, they are typically single day or overnight trips. Backpackers might add on a peak bagging day to their trip, in which case they will establish a camp and leave non-essential equipment behind while they summit a nearby mountain.
Duration & Elevation: Long, hard pushes over 1-2 days
Technical: Grade 3-4 scrambling possible
Pack: Carrying light packs with layers, first aid, water and fuel. Pack weight range 9-15 kg
Fitness Attributes: Strong “mountain chasis”, stamina and strength
Example Trip: Mount Kosciuszko, Mount Townsend, Rams Head
Alpine Climbing is done at high elevations in the “high alpine” and climbers will expect to travel over rock, ice, or snow. In contrast to hiking, climbing by definition means that your arms come above your head to help pull your body up an ascent. These ascents are “fast and light” and typically involve the use of technical gear such as helmets, ropes, and harnesses. Because of the need for technical equipment, these trips require a specific skill set and or a guide.
Duration & Elevation: 1 long, hard day, or as part of multi-day expedition
Technical: Grade 5+ climbing
Pack: Carrying layers, climbing gear, ropes, water and fuel. Pack weight range 15-25 kg
Fitness Attributes: Strong “mountain chasis” for approach, grip and upper body strength for climb
Example Trip: Cathedral Range State Park, Balls Pyramid , Mt Coolum
Reference: Mountain Athletics