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Dane

Lwt is right?

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DPS added this to my blog... Mr. Miagi said, "stay in the middle of the road and you get squished".

 

Classic comment for those trying to jump on the F&L train.

 

I think this could be a good discussion here.

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Excellent ideas Dane...enjoyed your post. Light and fast is usually the safest way to climb. It seems to be a constant art to match the climbing route, conditions, fitness of the climber/climbers,and skill level (read: comfort level) to the gear you take...and still leave a margin of safety. I must admit to being a bit of a gear geek, so it's part of my fun to ponder what to take and what to leave behind so I can move efficiently on a climb and minimize my exposure to objective hazards. Keep up the good work!

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"Light and fast" is a marketing term cooked up by at a committee of sales people at a climbing company in a meeting trying to figure out ways to sell more product. "Every year we'll make our kit 5 gram lighter and tell the customer that they are slow unless they buy our light and fast product."

 

I kid but all this gear talk takes away from the fun of climbing, like we need to buy new gear every year to have fun or something? Consumerism invades climbing. (Full, disclosure I have a rack of light wire gates and love um) What climbing companies don't mention is that you can go fast, light and cheap by simply NOT buying their crap. Rope, harness, fancy widgets, leave that crap on the ground and watch how fast your speed gets. People climbed liked this 50+ years ago and got up all kinds of routes real fast like. Funny how now we have have to buy MORE stuff to go light?

Edited by eldiente

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I agree there is entirely too much emphasis on the gear aspect of going light and fast in the mountains...mental and physical fitness combined with experience are just as important, if not more important than shaving a few grams here and there.

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I agree there is entirely too much emphasis on the gear aspect of going light and fast in the mountains...mental and physical fitness combined with experience are just as important, if not more important than shaving a few grams here and there.

 

Second that, most people (myself included) could easily lose 5-10 pounds of body weight. 10 pounds is a lot, that's the difference between 2nd hand beat-up gear from eBay, and new fancy kit from your trust fund. Sort of reminds me of cycle racing, all this pressure to save weight on the bike but it always seems like the guy going the fastest is the one with the strongest legs.

 

 

Soo nice out today, I'm going to go for a run with my fast shoes and shorts, maybe a t-shit if I go into the shade. I prefer cotton when sweating, feels softer when wet.

 

-Nate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by eldiente

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I agree there is entirely too much emphasis on the gear aspect of going light and fast in the mountains...mental and physical fitness combined with experience are just as important, if not more important than shaving a few grams here and there.

 

Seperate the two.

 

Ignoring what is and isnt light (I'll leave that for the armchair mtneers and bloggers to debate) going as fast as safely possible is common sense. Sure most routes wont punish you for going slow(er) but as the commitment required for a route increases often speed factors more and more in the outcome.

 

The question should be what is the best way to go fast? Is it going light?

 

I would agree with the sentiments from above... light is important to going fast but if you dont know what you are doing then going light is actually making things worse as you wont be prepared for when it does go down.

 

As Bouchard said "gear wont make up for a lack of skill... skill often makes up for a lack of the latest, fanciest gear".

 

So what is the best way to go fast? Some climbers and bloggers would like you to think it is the latest, lightest gear. And they would be right to an extent... carrying less often means moving quicker. That said putting some effort into your mental and/or physical fitness will likely make you much faster than a complete gear overhaul.

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putting some effort into your mental and/or physical fitness will likely make you much faster than a complete gear overhaul.

 

After spending a small fortune on gear, this was my conclusion too.

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I think an aspect of Fast/Light that perhaps doesn't get emphasized explicitly enough (although it's often there in a lot of Dane's writing, at least implicitly) is that the clothing systems, in addition to shedding ounces, also remove a lot of the need to be constantly (and time-consumingly) adding and shedding layers (besides possibly a belay jacket, but that's pretty easy to do). I've done trips (through student groups and classes, etc.) where there was a much more "old-school" approach to things taken by a lot of the participants, and cycles of "overheat/layer off/underheat/layer on" were frequent (and necessitated lots of stops). So it's not just about weight, but also efficiency.

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putting some effort into your mental and/or physical fitness will likely make you much faster than a complete gear overhaul.

 

After spending a small fortune on gear, this was my conclusion too.

 

I've put a small fortune into my mental and physical fitness but considering the returns I've seen to date my only regret at this point is that I didnt make the investment earlier.

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Yeah, saw the phenom in windsurfing - people who were [chronically] overweight 10-20lbs progressively trading in rig components for lwt carbon-fiber ones in the attempt to shave weight for better performance. But in terms of performance on the water it didn't really matter whether the extra weight was on you or your rig - they would have been way better off just losing a couple of pounds.

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Ignoring what is and isnt light (I'll leave that for the armchair mtneers and bloggers to debate)....

 

I prefer "deskjockey". :rolleyes:

 

I know that I enjoy long days much more knowing I've done everything I can to lighten my pack. When gear needs to be replaced, I generally look to the weight right after the price.

 

 

 

 

 

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I just spent 40 of the last 44 days skiing and climbing. you?

 

In case you missed it the point of both comments (blog and gear article) "it is more about what is between your ears than what is in your pack". But for most of us just knowing what actually is in your pack is a good place to start.

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I just spent 40 of the last 44 days skiing and climbing. you?

 

what a strange comment since everyone is agreeing with you. Bragging & chest beating?

 

 

But for a different view point. Even if you are not going fast, carrying less weight makes the miserable less miserable. Getting 5 pounds off of a 45lb pack does wonders and might actually be more noticeable than getting a 15lb pack down to 10lb. (as far as standard alpine climbing and backpacking)

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putting some effort into your mental and/or physical fitness will likely make you much faster than a complete gear overhaul.

 

After spending a small fortune on gear, this was my conclusion too.

 

I've put a small fortune into my mental and physical fitness but considering the returns I've seen to date my only regret at this point is that I didnt make the investment earlier.

What specifically are you doing to invest in your mental fitness, John? I'm hoping to do the same. Lord knows I need it.

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another option to carrying lighter gear, and training more, might just be to climb more. it works for a few people I know.

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I wish! Some of us have jobs and families=less time for play, so it's difficult. I envy folks like Dane who can get away for that long, and don't begrudge them their good fortune. All of us have different motivation, time commitments, budgets, and goals. Climbing isn't all about the gear, but the gear can greatly increase the comfort, safety, and enjoyment of the trip. I agree that fitness, skill, etc. are more important than the latest titanium thingamajig. But, we do use gear don't we? I don't see (thank goodness) my fellow climbers out free soloing in the buff. All the comments (less the finger-pointing) are helpful and thought provoking for those of us who like talking about the gear we use. While I'm trying to get more fit and lose the extra lard off my body trudging up Mt. Si after work for the zillionth time, I envision my planned trip to Challenger this summer...and think about what I'll need and can leave behind.

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you can control the weight of your pack / gear, but sometimes you can not control the "fast" aspect of Light and Fast. I learned this in Alaska last spring when the route my partner and I climbed was supposed to take us two days, and ended up being 4 of the longest days of my life. Its hard to move fast through chest deep or higher sugar snow, can't control the conditions and sometimes up is down...

 

I would say "efficiency" is more important than being fast. For example stopping to brew up on route and climb hydrated will help your body stay much warmer, and you will be able more more efficiently than a shivering cold slow dehydrated body would... Trust me I leaned from my mistakes last year we each lost 15lbs in that 4 days...

 

Knowing the conditions, and knowing when too and being ok with turning around is also a key factor in Light and Fast tactics. Still learning that the hard way.

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As regards to the 2nd article. The comparison of warmth between climbing and belaying and trying to carry enough gear to take on and off and keep warm at belays.

 

You have to try staying in motion at the belays. Run in place if you have to. You can go lighter with this method and save time by not having to add/remove layers. I usually take an extra layer even when going light but nothing overboard. I usually have to run in place when it's cold because my body fat is so low.

 

I go light but usually don't go fast. I go slow and light due to being over the hill. I have to go light just to make it at all. One thing I note about going fast is you sometimes don't even remember the pitches. What is climbing worth in that case? Can see it if the weather window is short and you are at the top levels of climbing but otherwise you miss out on the experience. Like thinking a shiver bivy on the climb is preferred to doing it in one day.

 

Going light is really a science. To do it properly you have to look at every single piece of gear and it also can get expensive. Another thing that happens also is going too light. Like the 3 guys that winter climbed the N face of Hood a few years back and took no puff jackets and no stove. The weight of a small stove and 1 jacket is not going to slow you enough to make a difference and the penalty if things go wrong is not worth it. If you're not in good enough shape to carry that small amount of weight and still go reasonably fast then you shouldn't be on the climb anyway.

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That said putting some effort into your mental and/or physical fitness will likely make you much faster than a complete gear overhaul.

 

Would you be able post some more info on some of the mental fitness training or methods? I've read a book (Mental Toughness Training for Sports) and of course Twight's thoughts in Extreme Alpinism. Any recent articles or studies that you can link to?

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another option to carrying lighter gear, and training more, might just be to climb more. it works for a few people I know.

 

Respectfully submitted for the discussion. Restating the obvious...?

 

Time, Or Its Lack

If internet and personal discussion is an indicator a lot of people spend a lot of time trying to dissect and then perfect the ideal training program, not only for themselves but to impose on others. This usually starts with analysis of the sport performance, which makes sense and is a step we insist on taking. This is followed by a regression analysis intended to isolate the particular fitness and skill characteristics required by the sport. And hopefully, armed with this information, it becomes possible to outline a training program to produce those characteristics. This general training plan may then be refined by evaluating other individual variables most of which relate to the trainee's current ability, and past performance.

 

The biggest trap I see in this process has to do with how different factors are weighted and their subsequent influence on the plan.

 

First I must digress. It is almost impossible to keep one's personal bias from affecting program design: everyone wants to do what they are good, which is usually the same thing as what they like. It is almost impossible to keep "how the pros train" from creeping into the plan. It is almost impossible to keep the behavior of one's peers from influencing training plans and execution. OK, these are givens, noted and ideally, worked around or avoided.

 

Circling back to factors and weighting them, I believe that available time has the greatest influence on program design. At least it should. From an endurance perspective, the individual who can train 900 hours per year (18 hours/week for 50 weeks) follows a different training plan than the athlete with only 500 hours (10 hours/week for 50 weeks) of available training time. And their performance expectations will also be different. In the gym, the amount of time one can spend training affects program design as well: the results one might see from 3x1 hour/week differ from those produced by 2x5x1 hour/week. On paper, and on the internet all sorts of training plans look good. Some are "proven" and others are used by X or Y so they have merit as well. When choosing what to do and how to do it, a realistic assessment of the hours one has available should be the step before the first step (of analyzing the objective). Establish and respect time constraints in advance rather than developing unrealistic expectations and plans and cutting into the latter when the time runs out.

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That said putting some effort into your mental and/or physical fitness will likely make you much faster than a complete gear overhaul.

 

Would you be able post some more info on some of the mental fitness training or methods? I've read a book (Mental Toughness Training for Sports) and of course Twight's thoughts in Extreme Alpinism. Any recent articles or studies that you can link to?

 

I'll try to post something this week. I've been reading a lot of material since 2009 so refining it down to a single post could be... impossible?

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Why not start a thread for that, I'd be interested to read what you come up with.

 

In the meantime.....

 

Seems like thread drift to me, as for light is right, it REALLY makes a difference if you are one of those guys who goes out solo, or if your group goes out for a wilderness/big range climb (i.e. day(s) to get in, days in camp (weather, rest, multiple objectives) , day(s) out).

 

I'd add that even with not so specialized or even expensive gear, things are definitely getting lighter. Ropes come to mind as a prime example of the benefits.

 

Besides, it IS easier to shed ten pounds from the load than one's gut and does have the same benefit. I just think the lightweight thing fits more ordinary climbers as well.

 

Edited by Coldfinger

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better being light than not

 

that said .... it doesnt matter how light you are if you arent in shape or dont have the skill

 

and dont get caught ...

 

shedding 10lbs from my ginourmous belly has much more benefit than shedding the same weight from gear ... for the simple reason that ill be in much better shape, and if i shed it while climbing, be better a better climber

 

 

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better being light than not

 

that said .... it doesnt matter how light you are if you arent in shape or dont have the skill

 

and dont get caught ...

 

shedding 10lbs from my ginourmous belly has much more benefit than shedding the same weight from gear ... for the simple reason that ill be in much better shape, and if i shed it while climbing, be better a better climber

 

 

Well, it depends......

 

If one is talking mountaineering (lung capacity, aerobic fitness) the gut need not be a hindrance (Don Willans anyone?). There are enough big guys playing sports like rugby who have a fitness level WAY beyond most rock climbers.

 

It is also true that some folks, due to genetics, will always have some level of padding.

 

I'd also add having a SMALLER pack (the other part of light is right) DOES make a huge difference when one has to climb with it.

 

And finally, I'd have to say I'm a big fan of lighter ice tools.

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