/ Winter soloing - do you take any rack?
A few slings pegs warthogs crabs and a screw, it ways nowt and can be good for a rest, confidence boost, airial bombardment from above and even aid.
Hardly ever needed it but when its been needed I was glad of it. At the end of the day ethics although important (espcially on first ascents)are less important than staying alive.
depends what youre soloing.
1. large capacity brown trousers
2. something to make splints from when it all goes wrong
3. a Go-Pro headcam
Enough, depending on route, including a rope, so that I could bail out if necessary. So about the same rack I might carry anyway on a route well within my ability.
Er, am I missing something? What would be useful about a second adze?
There's a pretty strong argument that says that if you are considering bail-out options then you are not 100% committed to the solo and therefore shouldn't be doing it. I don't entirely agree with this perspective but on virtually every (albeit easy) solo I've done it's the one I've followed.
I'm pretty sure that soloing kills more people in winter than anything else bar avalanches. Think hard..
> There's a pretty strong argument that says that if you are considering bail-out options then you are not 100% committed to the solo and therefore shouldn't be doing it.
I am never, ever, 100% committed to a winter solo. I think it would crazy to be so! It would be reckless not to consider bail out options (as with any mountaineering). Committment to individual moves is a another matter - and if I don't want to commit, I bail.
Reckless or just confident? I appreciate that the margin between those two can be a vague one, but you must admit that confidence and good movement are pretty powerful tools, possibly the most crucial in the soloist's armoury.
I guess I'm skewed by a couple of things. Firstly I've never soloed anything I couldn't have downclimbed. Secondly I'll never forget the tw*t that I met soloing on a multi-pitch rock route once. Two ropes and a full rack but he couldn't even lead the crux (after someone had thoughtfully invited him to tie-in).
> Reckless or just confident?
Obviously confidence born of experience is important in deciding whether or not to try to solo something, but it would still be crazy not to consider bail out options.
Agreed, but careful down-climbing is one of those options. And ones considerations also need to address how the need for security stacks up against the pleasure of moving confidently with a light sack. For the easy stuff I solo there's little competition, but I guess others are after a more intense experience.
> I'm pretty sure that soloing kills more people in winter than anything else bar avalanches.
Really?! I'd have thought soloing fatalities would be less than that from roped climbing, and far less than 'died from exposure'.
> Agreed, but careful down-climbing is one of those options.
Of course, but abseiling, given a good anchor, is often much less worrying!
When I have soloed in winter, the route in question has always been well within my ability and I have never taken any gear apart from a harness and spring leashes. In summer I have sometimes taken a rope and a token amount of gear in case of a retreat, but again these routes have always been well within my grade.
> Er, am I missing something? What would be useful about a second adze?
If you have nothing to hammer in (solo or leading) a hammer is useless and an adze in each hand doubles the usefulness of an adze !
> If you have nothing to hammer in (solo or leading) a hammer is useless and an adze in each hand doubles the usefulness of an adze !
What would you use one for anyway? If you have to plough through a cornice (in which case perhaps not the best route choice!) you'd probably have the other axe in for stability rather than wanting to dig with both.
> If you have nothing to hammer in (solo or leading) a hammer is useless
Have you done any mixed climbing? A hammer can sometimes provide a secure placement where a pick won't.
unless youre at the sharp end of soloing and really into the zen of it all (no offence intended, but as youre asking here im assuming youre just starting down this path) youd be foolish to leave the flat without a basic guerilla escape set (some cord, a sling or 2, 2 screws and a threader, maybe even a tag line).
with these training wheels you will be able to develop the skills of soloing with a degree of contingency, later moving into the deeper aspects of the discipline - by choice rather than desperation.
soling is not f*cking around, and its not simply unroped climbing as you may be aware. its a skill set to be learned just like leading (indeed it will help your leading no end).
the main thing you need to winter solo (as a distinct discipline, not just climb without a rope) is the head for it, to know what and when to solo and when to walk away. delve into the material by dean potter, guy lacelle, beat kammerlander, steve house etc.
along with that, get the volume in. days of top roping hard stuff is invaluable (you wont climb hard enough on lead to find the red zone by choice). lots of solid leading.
not all solos are the same (hence my previous comment). some you will do with escape gear, some you wont, some you wont need to. its foolish to make a set rule.
many will be the day when you head changes at the last moment. half of soloing i believe is navigating that. its completely normal to solo routes youve done dozens of times on rope before. having soloed something once doesnt mean you will again - dont start thinking like that.
> I'm pretty sure that soloing kills more people in winter than anything else bar avalanches. Think hard..
Take care, my best friend was killed soloing in winter.
> its completely normal to solo routes youve done dozens of times on rope before.
Dozens?! I don't usually like doing the same route twice let alone that many!
> A hammer can sometimes provide a secure placement where a pick won't.
Have you done that on the solo? You're a braver man than me!
Elsewhere on the site
Climbing as a discipline offers plentiful metaphors for tackling life's obstacles - bravery, courage, climbing to... Read more
The B.D.V. — short for Black Diamond Vertical — jacket and pants are Black Diamond’s most versatile climbing... Read more
October 21, 2014 – Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit dedicated to sustainability in the apparel and textile industry,... Read more
In tonight's Friday Night Video, we see Alex Honnold soloing Heaven 5.12d in Yosemite Valley. The route starts 3000ft above the... Read more
This streamlined, midweight thermal layer has an incredibly speedy moisture wicking ability and dries ultra fast if it gets... Read more