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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Light is always right

It doesn't matter if you are sport climbing at your local crag or in the greater ranges, light is always right if you want to push the limits of what you are capable of.

Every trip out reinforces that mantra to me.   It doesn't matter if the object under discussion is a super light weight forged wire gate carabiner, your climbing pack, the helmet or clothes you choose.  All of them add up to significant weight as a whole.  How you decide to climb, be it unroped, scantily protected or lacing it up matters as well.  Are your skills up to the task and your chosen style?

How fast you climb will define what you bring for food and water.  How you dress will define that equation as well.  Too warm and you'll need more water and your body won't work as efficiently.  Too warm and you'll climb slower. 

Going light means speed in the mtns.    And speed in the mtns is all in the details which include staying aware and alert top to bottom.  Are the ropes organized?  Did you bring enough gear but not too much gear?   Will the climb push you or will you push on the climb?

The picture is a scan from the 1984 Wild Things catalog.  It is worth a dbl click to read or reread. 

In April of 2010 I published a "weight list"  here on the blog.  I didn't do it for anyone but myself.   I update it it as needed and refer to it myself all the time.  If you don't write it down and keep track of the info you'll never know what you carry or how much it weights.  And what it weights matters if you what to push yourself.  It is a habit worth developing.

My list:

If you are reading this blog then likely you are aware of the amazing climbs getting done in the alpine.  If you aspire to those sorts of climbs it also pays to look at the gear and systems the major players are using.

There are few Willo Walzenbach's going off on their bicycles and using wool over coats to climb the big north faces these days.

There is how ever a ton of technology available to us today.  All of the most recent hard climbs have depended on that same technology to some extent.  Saying  that takes nothing away from the climbers involved.    It has always been that way.   Modern gear and the resulting technology has just allowed us to push the envelope farther.   Just as it has previous.   Take a look at your "favorite flavor".   I've mentioned or posted pictures of mine on the blog any number of times or just check the other links.   The same guys that are generally pushing hard and going extremely light.  

You don't have to climb at a professional level or in distant mountains to take advantage of what I am suggesting here.   And to get good at it you need to do it in small doses, locally first.

Gear doesn't climb mountains, men do.    

Alpine climbing (or any climbing) is a thinking man's game.

Smart climbers think about what gear they use, what it weights, the tactics they will try to use on the climb and why.  If you aren't doing all of that, you are missing well over half the game.

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