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rhyang

Multi-pitch 'stuff'

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I seconded my first multi-pitch WI3+ over the weekend (2.5 pitches on a 60m rope, took the better part of the day since there were 3 of us), and am thinking that perhaps I need to fine-tune the junk I was carrying (1L water, golite belay parka, belay mittens, food, camera, in a 2400ci golite jam whose compression straps I should have tightened down). The leader was carrying a fleece windstopper jacket and some water in one of those grivel manu packs, and obviously dealing with lots more gear.

 

What do other people carry on stuff like this ? Do you hang the water / mittens from your harness ? Any other tips ?

Edited by rhyang

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I can fit everything you describe in a small pack like this (although I think my belay jacket compresses a lot better than a go-lite):

bullet_wingate.jpg

 

 

Carrying all that gear doesn't have to turn into a cluster so long as you access things efficiently. Use an autolocker so when you finish a lead you can set up the belay and start bringing up the second and still be able to put on a jacket or grab a bite w/o wasting too much time. Swinging leads helps too because it means you'll be messing around with your gear (ie putting on / taking off jacket, etc) half as often than if you just follow every pitch.

 

If I don't feel like carrying all that extra stuff - usually if I'm leading near my limit - I won't bring water or food .. I'm fat so I don't need the food, and I'll drink a liter before I start climbing. I'll ditch the camera too or have the partner carry it. The spare heavier gloves will go in the chest pockets of my jacket, and w/o a puffy jacket I'll just freeze at the belay tongue.gif The other option is to just take one pack for 2, and have the second carry it.

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For an all-day affair, you certainly have what would seem to be the right amount of gear, nothing extraneous. I carry about the same thing. The belay mittens and parka depend on the conditions and everyone is different. Since this amount of kit isn't really a burden weight-wise the only problem you may be encountering is time.

 

If you arrive at the belay, tie into the power point, pass the pro to the leader, and then put on your jacket and mittens before putting the leader on belay you are probably wasting a little time that you could save.

 

After you tie in and pass the pro, clip your pack into the belay gear. Set the leader on an auto-block so he can begin moving out and only then begin to satisfy the clothing, food, water issues. The leader is now on belay and you are simply minding the rope, feeding slack, and tracking his/her progress. Your hands are mostly free to take care of your needs at the belay.

 

If you give this a swing next time you're out you may just find it helpful.

 

Ken

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I seconded my first multi-pitch WI3+ over the weekend (2.5 pitches on a 60m rope, took the better part of the day since there were 3 of us), and am thinking that perhaps I need to fine-tune the junk I was carrying (1L water, golite belay parka, belay mittens, food, camera, in a 2400cc golite jam whose compression straps I should have tightened down). The leader was carrying a fleece windstopper jacket and some water in one of those grivel manu packs, and obviously dealing with lots more gear.

 

What do other people carry on stuff like this ? Do you hang the water / mittens from your harness ? Any other tips ?

 

why are you carrying all this stuff on a 2 and a half pitch route? would you take bivi gear on Polar Circus?

 

confused.gif

 

where did you find a 2.5 pitch route "in" this weekend - colorado or lake louise?

 

anyways on a short multipitch route usually all i'm carrying is a belay jacket, abalakov webbing and maybe a landjaeger. need an extra pair of gloves - stuff them down your shirtfront to keep them warm, likewise a tiny point and shoot camera. mittens suck under any conditions. why carry water up a 2 pitch climb? just drink the stuff before you start climbing. it all fits in a 10 liter pack. don't ever carry fleece up a climb, what next, carrying 10 lb rocks, beer kegs, laptops, spare snowtires, an umbrella??? blush.gif

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Photo is of gumby ice climber with waaay too much stuff ..

 

Seriously if you're going to carry a pack, these little bullet packs are way cool. As long as you are going to be back at the start of the climb to retrieve your normal pack, I think it's worthwhile to carry one of these tiny packs. That way you don't have to compromise on pack size, carry a normal pack for the approach and a tiny one for the climb.

436291-gumby.jpg.599ceacd6f1427eec694b75e9e966f27.jpg

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Yep, the leader carried one of those ... he seemed to like it.

 

As it happens, I was rooting through my gear closet and realized that I have an old mini-summit pack, complete with shoulder straps, 11oz / 900 ci or so. I think I'll try using that for my junk.

 

Thanks for the info guys ! btw the route is in California, sorry.

Edited by rhyang

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I dont carry a pack on a multi-pitch ice climb, and none of my partners do either. The only time I can think you need a pack is if it is really cold (less than -20c) and you want to carry a bulky belay puffy up the route, or if you are doing a "carry-over", where the descent off the climb is a different route than the climb, and does not return to the base. This is pretty rare! Examples of this are: This House of Sky, Rogans Gully in Canada, Drury depending on specific descent in Washington. Otherwise, you almost always return to the base of the route eventually.

 

Here is the system we typically use:

 

The most important thing is obviously to learn how to dress for the conditions; wear a clothing system that is tuned for the all-day climb and the temperatures. If the climb is wet or its snowing hard, your system will include a waterproof top, but otherwise we usually climb in a windshirt, perhaps a Scholller softshell, or some lightweight microfiber layers. We tend to err on the side of being slightly cold - it hurries you along the route wink.gif.

 

Otherwise, the extra things you need for any multi-pitch climb are:

* liter of water for both climbers

* headlamps for each climber

* V-thread material for each climber

* spare gloves for each climber

* spare hat/windproof balaclava

* some form of quick energy of snacks for each climber

 

Thats about it. With that in mind, we typically carry the single liter of water in a std Nalgene bottle, inside an OR water bottle parka. This hangs off second's harness, with some GU shoved in there as well. If you carry a camera, the OR water bottle parka is useful for this as well. We carry a handicam in ours. There are some really small digital cameras out there now that dont need anything other than a small jacket pocket! For snax we just shove a bunch of candy bars or GU in pockets. Each climber is responsible for a pair of spare gloves, I typically hang these off my harness too, from the same biner as my Vthreads or water, and just shake the ice chunks out of them before I put them on. We use these gloves for changing temperatures, if the primary pair gets wet, frozen, or dropped, and for rapelling to save your primary pair from premature death. Each climber takes a V-threader and some V-thread material, in case they need to back off on lead at some time, or if one set gets dropped during descent. Each climber takes a headlamp (usually something like a Zipka) unless the route really isnt that long.

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nice info alex. that's pretty much the same system I use. The important thing I've learned is to have a nice pair of "climbing" gloves that are thin and dexterous, as well as a thick warm pair for belaying/rapping that I hang off my harness. Swap them out at each belay and you always stay warm. things in a pack are hard to get to and thus just not used.

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unlike some of the other respondents, i believe in carrying anything and everything "extra" in a pack - i HATE shit hanging off my harness, and i've had an experience or two that taught me that it's possible to catch your crampons in junk hanging down from the back of the harness while you're descending. a simple "header" into the snow would be a mild outcome - it could also be an embarrassing way to die!

 

the objective is to keep the "extras" to a minimum, and the pack as small as possible. i use the MEC Blitz Crag, which is a typical "bullet" pack, also available from BD, etc. the 12L capacity in the main compartment is plenty for my insulated jacket (which i find i MUST carry - i'm not as young and "hot-blooded" as i once was, i guess). there's enough extra room for a thermos or water bottle, but i've never yet taken one up a route. (i always pack a thermos, but it stays at the bottom of the route) there's also space for spare puffy mitts, but i usually carry those inside my jacket to keep them warm. sometimes i'll cram my camera into the main comp't too, but i usually try to keep it out to allow taking photos. (i've got a good strap system rigged to keep it tucked close to my body at "NE" orientation)

 

the zip pocket gets a big hank of rap tape (length varies: maybe 10m-20m - i carry 2 or 3 precut sections [4 foot/1.2m is about right] with my hooker and a rap ring or two on the back of the harness); an O-Henry bar and a big chunk of sausage; my knife (c/w light cord neck loop for when the "action" starts); and the headlamp.

 

the Blitz Crag, like most other packs, can be simplified and lightened. since it only costs CDN$26, i had little hesitation in taking the knife to it, whereas a nicer (more expensive) BD Bullet is US$39 or so. i cut out the double inner pack panel (designed to hold a hydration bladder in place? or some such foolishness...), and cut off both the sternum strap and the waist belt - neither is necessary, cuz u aren't carrying significant weight, and in fact you WANT the pack to move around as you twist/etc while climbing. this reduces the wt from 380gms to 330gms - light fabric would be nice, but isn't an option. the pack is small enuf that u never are aware of it while climbing - it's well centred on your back, and does not interfere with arm movement, bending at waist, etc.

 

oh, and there's a well-sewn loop on top of the pack, so i "fix" a light carabiner to it - arrive at the belay, park the tools, whip the pack off, clip it into wherever, zip it open and whip out the jacket - cozy and quick!

 

so, styles vary, but there's my pitch...

 

cheers,

Edited by Don_Serl

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I usuallly have my harness over my jacket. I therefore put my extra mittens flat against my side inside the jacket where they stay dry and warm and can't fall out. I put a small platypus in the napolean pocket on the inside to keep from freezing. I usually wear bibs with a chest pocket where I put my knife and a couple chew toys (powerbars or whatever). I sling my camera bag over my head and it zips under my jacket. I hang my v-threader and some cord tightly wound from one of my rear gear loops. I can't remember the last time I wore a pack ice climbing. I regulate heat by what's on my head. I often wear a headband (not a hat) to keep my ears warm. The hood on my jacket goes up over my helmet if I want to get warm. Eat a big breakfast, drink a bunch of water before you head up and you should be fine until dinner!

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Hey Rob, (its me Doug)we were there fri. In fact we are the pair on the right hand line in Lambone's pic. Anyway, we carried no pack tho being familiar with how we climbed together we knew we'd be off in a short time.

 

I have a small 'bullet' type pack also that works for these things. Its one of the Osprey excesory packs that I can add to my larger osprey (tho only have for expeditions in AK etc). rolleyes.gif For longer climbs, my system is similar to Don's above.

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Thanks again guys !

 

btw Doug, the rambo's are great, thanks for the setup tips. With any luck we're going to be around again towards the end of the month.

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if you are doing a "carry-over", where the descent off the climb is a different route than the climb, and does not return to the base. This is pretty rare! Examples of this are: This House of Sky

 

Just curious how you come out of THOS. We just rapped/downclimbed the route. Is there some way of returning to the valley from that big upper bowl of THOS?

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If climbing the crux upper pitches of THOS, you still have to rap/walk off the upper pitches somehow, but the common walk off descent for the majority of the route starts where the final bit of WI2 creekbed enters the large upper bowl. From this point there is a flagged and often trampled "donkey trail" through the steep woods climbers right of the route, that leads back down to the river, a couple hundred yards upstream from the small parking area. Its much faster than downclimbing/rapping, takes about 35 min from the top of the lower pitches to the car.

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Like Alex said, head right just as you enter the bowl. I thought the descent sucked though (steep downsloping dirt & rock, basically no snow when we were there) so I would have rather downclimbed the route as it would have doubled our milage on the ice. Depends on how crowded it is I suppose. It took us about an hour back to the car on the walk off. yemv

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if you really want mileage continue up the bowl above and then downclimb "french technique". there's beta somewhere on l-t-v.com

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