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Rad

tips for alpine newbies

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For summer climbs where you might get rained on, make sure to bring a light waterproof shell. Use this waterproof shell as a windbreaker instead of bringing a windbreaker and a rain jacket. I used to always carry a rain jacket in the bottom of the camelback and wear my wind breaker, this is sort of redundant and adds weight. I'm now a big fan of just wearing my cheap-o Marmot Precip jacket as a windbreaker and if it starts to rain I'm already wearing my rain jacket.

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There's been so many good tips I gotta say thanks. I really like hearing what people have learned from years of climbing. It really helps me have smoother cooler trips. So keep them coming if there's anymore. I'm gonna try them next time I go out.

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Always bring moleskin.

 

Touching what eldiente wrote, I find I always bring my Mountain Hardware shell and my Cloudveil rain pants when in the alpine. The wind-breaking power of the two saves me from bringing heavier and bulkier layers when needed for unplanned nights and/or when weather changes.

 

After almost getting fried by lightning a couple weeks ago, I highly suggest always keep checking the sky. And while you feel like a pussy turning back because the skies are ominous, I don't think I'd have an issue the next time that happens.

 

Be optimistic and be a good partner. Nobody wants to be with a nay-sayer or a complainer for a very long day.

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Here's a light weight, low cost alternate to Nalgenes:

 

Use a 1 liter wide mouth soda / aquafina / gatorade bottle. They're very popular with the long distance hiking crowd. They're cheap - only a buck fifty and come filled with a free liter of soda / water / gatorade. They're practically indestructable. Available at just about any quicky mart. The only drawback is they don't hold up to boiling water. I prefer the soda / water to gatorade due to the form factor and more secure lids.

 

What Bill said on the cheese. It keeps at least 4 days in 100 degree heat, but will get greasy (pack in a zip lock or two). In cooler temps, it's just like out of the fridge. I like cheddar. Hard cheeses do better in warm temps. Ditto this for dry salami, either pre-sliced or in stick form - it'll keep for days in 100 degree heat. Combine the cheese and salami with bagels for a yummy, filling and pretty high calorie sandwich.

 

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Here's a light weight, low cost alternate to Nalgenes:

 

Use a 1 liter wide mouth soda / aquafina / gatorade bottle. They're very popular with the long distance hiking crowd. They're cheap - only a buck fifty and come filled with a free liter of soda / water / gatorade. They're practically indestructable. Available at just about any quicky mart. The only drawback is they don't hold up to boiling water. I prefer the soda / water to gatorade due to the form factor and more secure lids.

 

 

you can also crush them whaen they are empty to make more space in your pack.

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LOT'S of good posts, even an experienced climber can still learn new stuff.

 

Agree on the water bottle, the 7-11 juice/water bottles are WAY lighter than the REI standard nalgene/lexan bottles. 1.5oz compared to 7oz.

 

Always have a knife, at least a small one, what do you use to cut bail runner/cord? What if your rope gets stuck behind a flake?

 

Hypothermia comes on quick. It can happen at a winter belay, your gripped and waiting on a slow lead. Sometimes all the insulation you have won't keep you warm depending on chill factor. You have to move around, run in place. It happened once to me in the Pacific with a wet suit that didn't fit. It happens before you know it, your muscles and brain function slow down and it takes longer than you think to recover. You may have to depend on others to recover. The point is to avoid it in the first place.

 

Cell phones are nice, you can call for weather and avalanche, to extend your return time in case of unexpected but safe delay, or for rescue. But keep them turned off until needed if the reception is spotty. They suck the battery when searching for reception.

 

On a big climb with complicated descent, know the descent for sure. Even if you have to do the descent first. This really helps if the commitment level is high. When the descent is the same as the ascent always look back as your going up. This may apply on all routes were a back-off is possible. It looks a lot different going the other way.

 

Think about taking rain/wind gear top and bottoms on any climb 2 days or more. Urethane lined is not that heavy, you can include this and still stay under the weights suggested earlier in this thread. Can you always trust the forecast?

 

If going on the volcanoes or anywhere high up with snow. Know how to dig a snow cave and be ready to do it. A snow pit doesn't cut it. You can dig with a snow shoe or cook pot etc. Several deaths and frostbite amputations could have been walked away from with this one skill.

 

There's two kinds of loose rock in the alpine. One kind you bang/kick on to see if it's loose, the other kind you don't even breath on. Look before you touch.

 

GU and it's equivalent other brands are the new miracle fuel. If you want an extra edge don't even eat any solid food on climbing days until you stop at dinner. It was designed for triathletes and that's the way they use it. I've also found you don't have to eat as much to recover after a hard effort when it is used.

 

Hydration is more important than food, especially on quick altitude gain. Strip down to avoid sweating. Have a layer system that's easy/quick to change if you sweat a lot. Take a hat on and off, push up sleeves, zipper neck etc. As mentioned earlier, leave the car cold, you will warm up and sweat if you don't.

 

When it's windy or the route goes around corners and you can't communicate between leader/follower use the rope tug system. 5 or so long hard tugs means only one thing. The leader is off belay and has the follower on belay. Walkie-talkies work better and save time when you anticipate many 60m pitches with communication difficulty.

 

On big multipitch an autolock belay device is nice for the leader. It gives more time to rest, stack the rope, and organize.

 

The best way ever to learn placing trad gear is to aid climb an A1 pitch. You can safely solo with a clove hitch and back up knots if you can't find someone to belay. This concentrates on gear placement without the distraction of climbing. Lots of placements in a short period of time means better quicker learning. On a full pitch you will place 20 plus pieces of gear compared to about 10 when free climbing. You can take your time and look closly at the placement without having to worry about hanging on. Plus you get to see what happens to stuff when it's weighted.

 

You may have all the gear to make a climb safe but don't go up with a partner unless you know they have adequate gear also.

 

If you are truly stuck in a life and death situation like a snow cave and you are depending on stove/fuel to melt snow for water. Don't heat the water. Only melt to room temp. You get a lot more water this way from a given amount of fuel and hydration is more important/beneficial than energy gained from a heated drink or hot water bottle when sleeping. On a really-really life/death situation you can drink your pee, but only one time.

 

Agree with others about route research in many cases but only differ on one point. You can also try to do stuff with minimum beta on less threatening easy climbs. This is good to hone route-finding skills. It's call beta-min climbing.

 

There's tons of good books out there, read first so when you come across something unexpected at least you have some clue what to do.

 

Read CascadeClimbers.com.

 

 

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Here's another one taken from the long distance hiker crowd:

 

Carry a couple of drawstring type plastic garbage bags (full size preferred, kitchen tall's might work in a pinch if you're not 'drought and famine resistant' like I am) for super light, super compact emergency rain gear. Poke/cut head and arm holes for the upper body (use bits of the duct tape you're carrying to reinforce the edges of the cutouts as required to keep from tearing). Slit the bottom of the other one and wear as a rain skirt for the legs using the drawstring end around the waist. In '06 on the PCT, there was a guy whose trail name was 'Rainskirt'.....

 

Dorky, sure, but better than being soaked.

Weight: not much.

Volume: tiny.

Cost: Chump change.

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When tying any overhand or variations of (figure eight, etc...) I like to clip a biner into the last loop of the knot, so it is dressed with the biner clipped into the last part of the knot, around the last two strands. This makes it a million times easier to tear down an anchor if it has been weighted at all because the knot doesn't cinch tight due to the biner being there. It's useful for sliding x's with limiter knots, equallette, cordolettes...

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eat lots of GOO, wrap duct tape on your ski pole, enough for a splint or other repairs, hydrate relentlessly, bladder or bottles, whatever, just do it. Bring spare webbing for rap anchors, SUNSCREEN! Smoke many cigarretes to simulate altitude,& keep the tequilla commin after your grand successes!

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Take a quality first aid course. Prefer something of the Wilderness Medical style but anything is better than nothing. Stuff happens..be prepared, learn to improvise

 

Steve

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Take a good shit first thing in the morning before you leave camp. Its much harder from a hanging belay or tiny ledge. And a turtle will distract you from the enjoyment of the climb. Refer to the Layton's "Pinchy" trip report for more info.

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Bring your Powerthirst!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

While the earlier posts about bringing an empty gatorade bottle and such are good and all, I prefer a

 

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