/ Any one done a RTW trip and took climbing gear

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neil9216 - on 01 May 2012
I leave on Friday for year back packing round the world.first up is South America for 13 weeks.
I,m thinking of taking my climbing gear with me, a trad rack and rope.
At the minute my bag is around sixteen kilo and with the gear will be nearer 21'
Has anyone done this before
My main concerns are the bag will become a burden whilst traveling aroundand I wont use the gear often enough to justify hauling it with me.
On the other hand if I have the gear then I will have more freedom to climb when I want.
How easy is to hire gear in SA.
Any advice will be greatly appreciated
Cheers Neil

JimboWizbo - on 01 May 2012
In reply to neil9216: Not exactly what you're looking for but I often go on long distance hiking trips to Switzerland. Last year I took a small amount of climbing gear. It didn't get used due to being knackered from hiking/travelling and ended up just weighing me down.

Good training though, I suppose.
Tom Last - on 01 May 2012
In reply to neil9216:

Hi. I've only been to Ecuador, but from what I gather, the travel situation there is similar at least to the other Andean countries.

Public transport is generally excellent and cheap, as for actually carrying it, well you know how much you're able to carry better than anyone. I can see a couple of issues though.

On the buses, the driver will encourage, maybe force you to put your backpack on the roof. I never wanted to do this as as a westerner luggage goes missing from the top of buses with some regularity. The alternitive is to have it on your lap, which with a rack in there too could be bloody uncomfortable. Another option is to buy a big sack from a market once you're out there and always put your rucksack in it before putting it on top of the bus. That was everyone will just assume it's another bag full of dead chickens, or something.

There are usually ejecutivo (executive) buses, which cost a bit more, but are genrally much more secure. Prices will obviously add up over several thousand miles.

Likewise, I always felt most vulnerable to theft/mugging, when walking to and from bus stations with my bag on my back. The more mobile you are, the safer you are.

Lastly, if you don't have any gear, you can't really climb can you. Unless you're travelling with a climbing partner though, I guess you're relying on meeting other climbers? If so, you could gamble on them having gear and just take shoes and a harness.

The alpine gear I saw for hire out there was shoddy at best, not sure I'd trust to hire a rope, unless the outlet came with a sound recommendation.

Hope you have a great time either way!

Tom Last - on 01 May 2012
In reply to Southern Man:

For "westerner", read 'gringo'!
Iain Peters - on 01 May 2012
In reply to neil9216:

Leave your rack behind. Back in the day when I was travelling regularly to South America for non-climbing work-based trips, I always took just boots, harness and a couple of slings/belay plate. As soon as I hit a major city I would contact the local branch of the Andean club and arrange to meet up with someone. It worked really well, and although techniques and equipment seemed quite strange at first I managed some great climbing but. more important, made a whole bunch of new friends.
danp - on 01 May 2012
In reply to neil9216:
I would probably leave it and also cut down on the 16kg's your already taking. you can normally buy stuff if you need it, will want to buy stuff anyway as you travel and although you may not be hiking with everything it makes a real difference if you can wonder comfortably round a city with all your stuff. And as mentioned above you can keep your stuff with you on the bus.

If i was headed back to SA for 13 weeks i'd be aiming for almost just having hand luggage when i left the UK.

But you are right, if you don't take it there will be times when you can't climb because you don't have it is a pain to travel round with.
If the main focus of the trip is to travel with some climbing as and when then leave it.
If you've already planned in some longer stops at specific climbing destinations then it might be worth it especially if you are going to be coming back to a location where you think you could safely leave it.
I took mine to ecuador and barely used it, however i was volunteering so had a great place to leave it while i explored the rest of the country. however i probably wouldn't take more than boots, harness and chalkbag next time the next time.
also where are you going next. I used mine all the time in NZ but i brought a car so it didn't matter how much stuff i had.

I hope that helps a bit

Have an amazing trip whichever you decide.
deanstonmassif on 01 May 2012
In reply to neil9216:

I would just take climbing shoes; then you can boulder as the opportunity arises, and have the most important bit of kit should you hook up with a potential partner for climbing (and then borrow / hire / buy (worst case) any other bits you need).

Lugging an extra 6Kg around for 97% of the time that you aren't actually climbing will pretty soon make you angry. Plus, there is some great trekking in South America for which you will want to be able to pack lots of food and have non-circular route options, thus the less kit you take out there the better.

A decent pair of lightweight trekking boots will help as well, because you can tackle some adventurous mountaineering travel for which climbing tackle is not needed; there's plenty of rocky ridges etc to give the thrills without needing all the hardware or pitch-climbing mentality.

Enjoy your trip but don't expect too much from the bread or coffee in Chile.
Duncan 88 on 01 May 2012
In reply to neil9216:

I spent 9 months in south america last year travelling and took nothing with me climbing wise. I regretted this decision quickly as the shoes you can hire are often crap. so i would take just your shoes as suggested above as any more will just piss you off when your lugging it around. also on small internal trips some aeroplanes have a weight limit of 18kg. and you will inevitably end up buying stuff out there.

try to get to El Chalten in the Argentinian part of patagonia as the climbing there is epic (i spent 10 days there instead of the 2 i planed).
Enjoy you trip
neil9216 - on 01 May 2012
In reply to neil9216:
thanks for all the info people.
yeah you all pretty much come to the same conclusion.
i think we,ll stick with the shoes harness and chalk bag and a belay device.
we also plan on doing plenty of trekking so lugging all that around does seem pointless.
although the freedom of having the gear would be great i think the negatives seem to outweigh the positives.
the reason my bag is 16 kilo already is i have my camping gear(tent sleeping bag etc etc)and want the freedom of being able to wild camp if i desire.
have any of you wild camped in south america
any further info on that would be great
martinph78 on 01 May 2012
In reply to neil9216: I wild camped loads in Peru. Once we even camped on the local football pitch after asking at the town hall where we could camp lol.

Generally found it very friendly.

Would be better for you to hire a guide when you want to climb. They will supply all of the gear etc then, and a car with driver. If climbing isn't your prime reason for travel then 'd just take my own shoes to be honest.

Remember you can post stuff home as well, so if you take it and do your climbing early on you can post it back before continuing your trip.

Iain Peters - on 01 May 2012
In reply to neil9216:
> (In reply to neil9216)

> have any of you wild camped in south america

Many times, probably amounting to about a year in total....but always south of 45S longitude, ie. Patagonia down to Cape Horn, but it's getting pretty late in the year for camping out that far south.

Generally speaking, in the more remote areas away from the honeypots such as Paine etc,the best bet is to call in at an estancia and just ask. Very rarely will you be turned away, likely as not you'll find yourself invited to an impromptu asado - acquire a taste for mate tea, it's powerful stuff and can become addictive!

If the Osorno (volcano) Puert Mpntt region is on your itinerary you will find that many of the outlying farms are owned by Germans and the area has a very N European ambiance, including large amounts of rain.

I've not had much experience of Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela but did spend an idyllic week camped on a virtually deserted beach a few hours' bus ride N of Rio.

NottsRich on 01 May 2012
In reply to neil9216: Hi, I spent 6 months from Patagonia to Ecuador, wild camping and fishing where possible (no fish, one tarantula). I took a bivvy bag, and shared a tarp with a mate. Also hammocks which we used extensively in the Amazon/Bolivia, but I wouldn't really recommend for anywhere else. Wild camping is fine in most areas out of towns in the south. Further north and we camped less, but I can't remember why. Be careful on beaches and near to towns. In national parks/wilderness areas it should be fine.

To echo what others have said, I'd just take shoes. Carrying other stuff will be a PITA, and there's so much more to travelling than climbing. And you'll forever be paranoid about getting your expensive kit stolen. It almost certainly won't if you have much common sense, but you'll probably hear enough exagerated stories to worry you!

If you really want to climb and have no kit you could get on a guided trip, i.e. easy mountaineering routes around Huaraz, Peru. I imagine you can do this in other places as well, but I don't know.

Personally I wouldn't take chalk, just in case of any problems at boarder crossings. I don't know if it's likely at all, but you might want to think about it.

My two top tips, if you're interested: Bolivia for beautiful people and amazing, varied scenary. Don't take a shiney new bag - something grubby will draw less attention.

Enjoy your trip - it's an amazing place.
JuneBob on 01 May 2012
In reply to neil9216:
A general comment - while you are possibly certain that everything you have packed is essential, review your situation after a few weeks. I did that in my trip and sent a box load of stuff back home because I just wasn't using it.

I visited places including Everest BC, Dubai, Bora Bora and the Antarctic, temperatures of -30C to +40C, did everything from lazing on the beach to completing the annapurna trek, including climbing in Hampi and my bag weighed around 11kg. Today you can probably download the travel guidebooks and regular books onto a phone/ipad, so that knocks off another kg for a start. A lighter rucsac would reduce it further.
I had no climbing gear and no tent, but with a sleeping bag.
Stuff that adds weight: excessive clothing. Diffent electrical items and their associated chargers. Excessive wash gear. Too much 1st aid stuff. Too many shoes (lightweight sandals and hiking boots for me). Souvenirs! (Fortunately for me I'm not really into souvenirs, I just loved getting all the stamps&visas in my passport - sadly that was stolen half way round.)

Lurking Dave - on 02 May 2012
In reply to neil9216: Lucky bugger.

If I was doing this kind of trip... (which I have done twice before...) I would look to reduce luggage weight down from 16KG to 12KG in a small (40l pack). There is no substitute for being mobile and light.

Take shores, harness, belay device, 2x sling+Screw gate.

essentials list includes,
- light (exped?) drybag
- good hardshell
- thermals (polyprope or merino)
- Spork
- Knife (for asado)
- mini med kit (inc. antihystamines - long story, trust me)
- down jacket
- marmot driclime jacket


Helen R on 02 May 2012
In reply to Lurking Dave:

> - mini med kit (inc. antihystamines - long story, trust me)

Ah yes. I remember trying to work out the spanish translation for "scabies".

Helen R on 02 May 2012
In reply to Lurking Dave:

And i agree - take as little as you can get away with and a 40liter bag should be fine, expecially if you have good quality travel clothes and gear, that should ideally look a bit scuffy.
Lurking Dave - on 02 May 2012
In reply to Helen R:

That was a xmas to forget, Salta wan't it?


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