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wandering_dusk


Sep 7, 2003, 5:08 AM
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Cutting weight for mountaineering...
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Anyone have any particular tricks they use for cutting pack weight while mountaineering...? I have read Mark Twights book, and there are a ton of useful tips in there... I was just wondering if anyone has anything else they could add... such as clever multi-uses of equipment, sleeping bag/clothing/bivy combos that work at particular temps., etc...

Ryan Cary


vertical_risk


Sep 7, 2003, 6:17 AM
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Instead of cutting your toothbrush in half, leave your teeth home! :lol:


atg200


Sep 7, 2003, 8:06 AM
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after carrying huge loads on a long trip to south america, i have started doing everything i can to cut weight. you can do a lot just by buying the right gear. i love the new sierra designs compression bags made of that wierd superlight material. one of those compression bags weighs less than a normal nylon stuffsack, so i am saving a bit of weight there and decreasing my pack size, which means i can carry a lighter and smaller backpack. they are expensive though.

things like biners really add up too, and i never paid much attention to the technical equipment when getting ready for big trips. neutrinos and other really small wire gates save a lot of weight when you replace a lot of normal biners with them.

when i use a bivy sack, i stuff the bivy sack and the sleeping bag in the same stuffsack and eliminate the heavy one that generally comes factory supplied with the sack. less mess, and less weigh too.

i've also started replacing my clothing with newer lighter materials. anyone have any good suggestions for light/warm models for mountaineering?


beyond_gravity


Sep 7, 2003, 8:29 AM
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Get the MEC Northern lite Pullover!

It's as warm as a heavyweight fleece, but way ligher and packs up way smaller. It's also windproof.

I wear this jacket along with polypro underwear and my gore-tex in tempertures down to -25ºC. Add a midweight fleece vest and your good to -30ºC.

The cool thing is that I can also wear the jacket alone when it's -10ºC while XC skiing without overheating.

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=675399&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=662027&bmUID=1062948180754


punk


Sep 7, 2003, 8:51 AM
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For clothing try Wildthings, GoLite, and some Patagonia stuff works well.
the down side it that this stuff is not as durable as some of the regular weight stuff
The way it works for me if it is a specialty piece I will get the lightest I can but if it is a piece that gets a constant use I will get the lightest of the most rugged material
Sorry but I’m not that rich to buy the lightest stuff every 3rd trip or so
Ditto for lighter climbing gear I think I shaved 3.5 lb of my rack (without the rope)


Partner camhead


Sep 7, 2003, 9:07 AM
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you can also do without your tonsils, appendix, and even large intestine. get rid of them.


sandbag


Sep 7, 2003, 11:11 AM
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One suggestion:
Toughen up!
:P


brutusofwyde


Sep 7, 2003, 1:11 PM
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Evaluate everything. Leave whatever I can behind. If it must go along, is it as light as possible? Can I modify it to make it lighter without compromising function? can it serve more than one or more functions?

Technical gear:

Neutrinos.

Stregor titanium cams and DMM cams rather than Camalots.

Titanium ice screws

Sawed every other crossbar off BD Nutscratcher

Large Tricams (the ones made from plate aluminum, not milled) rather than SLCDs in the same size range.

Passive nuts -- (Hexes, depending on route,) rather than cams.

Longer clip-in slings on cams to eliminate need for extra draws and carabiners.

Cordelettes double as bail webbing

Lightest ropes that are adequate for the route -- 50m 8.1mm doubles?

Titanium pins

Lightweight hammer or hammer on "ice axe"?

Lightest crampons & axe necessary (Camp 6-point aluminum etc.)

Alpine Bod harness with seam-grip stiffened nylon gear loops (lighter and more comfortable under a pack waist belt than plastic sleeves)

Camping gear

Lightest shelter I think is necessary -- ranging from 2 oz. mylar sack to 6 oz synthetic sack to Bibler wall bivy to Bibler I tent depending on the trip

Titanium Snowpeak stove -- 64 grams

Black MSR Dromedary on top of pack to melt snow & conserve fuel

Cut the labels off all gear

Share toothbrush & cup & spoon with partner, or better leave cup and spoon behind and use piton to stir & eat/drink out of pot, which doubles as a shovel for cornices and avalanches

Use stuff bags, garbage bags, rocks & extra gear etc. to anchor tent -- leave stakes behind.

If electronic equipment is carried -- radios, headlamps, GPS, cellphone -- all use same type batteries... carry fewer spares as backup

Use available shelters where possible -- example -- huts system in Canadian Rockies, which sometimes have foamies, utensils and stoves. Down pants rather than sleeping bag, or share sleeping bag, etc.

Duct tape. Multi-function.

Ziplock bags. Multi-function.

Toilet paper & sanitary napkins. Multi-function.

Lightweight pack -- Serratus expedition rather than Dana Astralplane overkill for example.

Have your food requirements dialed. Nurse Ratchet and I spent a week in Assiniboine Provincial Park, with rack and rope, and packs weighed approx. 40 lbs going in. When we got back to the car, we had about 1 qt. worth of gatorade powder and three tea bags remaining for food. Never went hungry.

There is no one perfect system for me. I am always re-evaluating, modifying, and weighing the "just-in-case" against the "good-enough."

Brutus


herm


Sep 8, 2003, 6:56 AM
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All depends on when and where. In the summer, you don't need much.
check out my site's "ten essential" list.


dingus


Sep 8, 2003, 7:39 AM
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Lots of good advice so far. Particularly, check out Brutus' list. Having climbed with he and Nurse Ratchet a bit I can attest to the attention they pay toward their gear.

Two other devices for lightening the load, both time tested (by me):

1. ALWAYS (and I mean always) take a smaller pack than your partner. If it doesn't fit... it doesn't go. No hanging a bunch of horse crap all over the outside of your pack either. That's just so much showing off anyway.
An adjunct rule is never let your partner heft your pack... it will inevitably lead to a heavier load.

2. This is the true secret of the light and fast crowd... GO FAST! None of us here on this group invented this stuff by the way. These aren't techniques first perfected by Hollywood Hans and his gang of mercenary speed climbers. This stuff was practiced when I was in diapers (along with most of rc.com member's parents!).

If you don't need to bivi than you can dump a substantial load right there. Unless this is alpine madness like the Twight stuff to which you refer, you can do without a stove, pad, sleeping bag, tent, toiletries, a lot of food, etc. Long trail? A set of extra batteries for your headlamp is helluva lot lighter than the bivi gear, eh? Walk in all night, climb the route in daylight and walk out the next night... trade sleep for pack weight. Sleep is a LOT lighter (both literally and figuratively, hehe)

Quoting a hero of mine, from the landmark manual, Climbing Ice, Ivon Chouinard has this to say about going fast in the mountains (circa 1977):

"To be able to move fast in the mountains, you must be physically fit and acclimatized, make correct route finding decisions, use efficient rope management procedures, carry light packs, and resolve technical difficulties efficiently. Basically, it comes down to being experienced and fit and having the desire to push one's limits."

He goes on to list 27 things to achieve speed. Notable pack related items include:

9. Carry light packs and leave most of the "ten essentials" behind. Remember: if you take bivi equipment along, you will bivi.

10. Arrange the pack so that items you most likely will need in the course of a climb are easily available.

He has another 25 tips for speed in the alpine environment. Anyway, that's all I can conjur up at present. Got to test (again) all this speed crap on Shasta on Saturday...

Burl and I teamed up with his guide sister, Jennifer Carr, and starting at 2 am with very light packs, we scrambled the Hotlum Bolam car to car in under 15 hours. (they could have gone a lot faster had I paid proper respect to Chouinard's advice above... the part about being physically fit and acclimatized! Oy, my thighs hurt today!)

Cheers,
DMT


fear


Sep 8, 2003, 7:39 AM
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Ultra-light shells like the Marmot Precip are great, durable, semi-waterproof, windproof, and the hood fits a helmet even with my alien sized head. Same goes for bottoms. Plus they're cheap.

Use lithium AA's. Very light, work to -40 or so and if you've got a bunch for a long trip it could save pounds.

Neutrinos.

Titanium Screws suck. Period. But if you only need a few for bail pieces or the climbing will be easy, go for it.

New 8mm thick spectra slings. Shoelace thin and so very light.

If in plastics, get the expensive high-altitude liner. Super light but not real durable.

Go thin on food. Bring stuff that's EASY to prepare. and go heavy on fats unless you're going up high(where fats don't digest so well...)

Alpine bod BD harness.

Kill the thermarest. They're heavy and suck. Deal with a 3/4 length z-rest foam pad.

BD Raven Pro for a general purpose axe. Light and right

-Fear


crotch


Sep 8, 2003, 11:01 AM
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Buy a scale accurate to grams and use it for EVERYTHING that will go in your pack, or on your body. The pack goes on there too. Did you know that the old style double-stem 0.75 Camalot is lighter than the new single-stem version? Neither did I till I put them on the scale.

Trango Lightweight Wiregate biners are as light as neutrinos and dovals and have larger gate openings. Inexpensive too.

Brutus, where did you find the Stregor cams?


rockprodigy


Sep 8, 2003, 11:27 AM
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Brutus, I don't mean to nit-pick, but using your pot as a shovel? Depends on where you're climbing, but if it's AK, where you have to use your shovel every night to carve a tent platform, you are going to waste way more time digging with your pot, then you would have saved from the 1.5 lbs lighter pack. Plus, I think you're going to get much more wet doing so.

As far as the lead gear goes, you have to weigh how much approach time is involved vs. how much time you will be climbing rock...sometimes those heavier cams add up to going faster compared to fiddling with nuts and tri-cams.

Good tips overall.


herm


Sep 8, 2003, 3:32 PM
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Gotta have ten things, not sure what they are, but they are essential.


pico23


Sep 8, 2003, 4:05 PM
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In reply to:
Anyone have any particular tricks they use for cutting pack weight while mountaineering...? I have read Mark Twights book, and there are a ton of useful tips in there... I was just wondering if anyone has anything else they could add... such as clever multi-uses of equipment, sleeping bag/clothing/bivy combos that work at particular temps., etc...

Ryan Cary

This thread is best broken down into two catagories, those with truly disposable incomes and those without. I say truly because I am refering to much of the trick ultralight stuff which doesn't last more then a season.

I learned from mountain biking and even road biking that the cost of a few grams can be a lot both up front and in repair/replacement cost.

For the people that don't have the cash to blow on disposable gear Brutus's list looks like it's somewhat attainable. Don't waste the cash on ultralight stuff sacks. Those things are light and are probably waterproof but you could save a lot more weight upgrading other things. Start with what you can leave behind and then leave it, then see what you can upgrade that will knock at least a few ounces off without sacrificing durability. Then start picking for the grams like cutting excess straps (a good idea anyway since the long straps tend to blow in the wind).

Learning to do with less is really key. If you look at what europeans climb with compared to what americans you'll understand this phenomenon. Even when I think back to my teenage years as a backpacker with all budget gear my pack still didn't weight much because I didn't own much. I didn't own a tent, we used tarps. we didn't have water filters we boiled or used iodine. my pack weighed under 20lbs for a weekend with shelter food and water. Today I'm lucky if a weekend backpacking trip stays under 25lbs with all the high tech light weight gadgets.


punk


Sep 8, 2003, 7:57 PM
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In reply to:
I didn't own much. I didn't own a tent, we used tarps. we didn't have water filters we boiled or used iodine. my pack weighed under 20lbs for a weekend with shelter food and water. Today I'm lucky if a weekend backpacking trip stays under 25lbs with all the high tech light weight gadgets.
I think u got older and u not in the mood to rough it up like u used to…personally I find with the new advance in gear my pack is going lighter and lighter I have a constant fight with myself regarding if I NEED the piece or if I can do without (75%)yeah the boots getting lighter, the tarp getting lighter, stove and pots are lighter, clothing lighter, climbing gear way lighter, poons and axe ridicules lighter, flashlights become headlamps that now are stupid light and in backpacks it is not a rarity to find a pack under 2lb
So I don’t understand your statement as I see it u allow more things to make their way to your pack so u end up caring more light gear…well it is like shooting yourself in the foot
:wink:


atg200


Sep 9, 2003, 1:13 PM
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i have to disagree strongly with pico23's advice not to use the ultralight compression bags. they may not be way too useful for week long trips in the states, but they add up a *lot* in both space and weight savings on month long trips in the high peaks. they are no more waterproof than any other stuffsack, which is to say they aren't. on the other hand, they are very strong and tough - after a month long climbing trip in the andes in january and many shorter trips since then, they still look brand new.


herm


Sep 9, 2003, 5:42 PM
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Eat big, Hydrate like crazy, sleep well and psyche up for at least a couple days before a biggun'


pico23


Sep 9, 2003, 9:30 PM
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In reply to:
In reply to:
I didn't own much.
I think u got older and u not in the mood to rough it up like u used to…
So I don’t understand your statement as I see it u allow more things to make their way to your pack so u end up caring more light gear…well it is like shooting yourself in the foot
:wink:

Pretty much you hit the nail on the head. Although it wasn't so much as not wanting to rough it as believing I needed all that stuff. Marketing and your gear head friends are a lot of pressure. So for the last few years I've been cutting back on it but I can go barebones light when I need to. Heck even the first aid kit stays at home sometimes. The one upgrade I almost never leave home without is the water filter. I don't always use it but it comes. I'm not necessarily affraid of Giardia, and I rarely chemically treat or boil what wasn't filtered. I've seen studies that show most backcountry streams do contain Giardia but depending on location it is often in lower quantities then major municipal water supplies. But being able to drink what would have essentially been beaver shit filled pond scum is a nice luxury.

As far as stuff sacks, Hydroseal Advanced are 100% waterproof. They are dry bag style and completely eliminate any chance of anything getting wet thus negating much worry. I don't think they are a gimmick, I just think you can save more weight spending the cash elsewhere. Approaching the problem from the worst aspect is the most economical way to knock down pack weight.


hugepedro


Sep 9, 2003, 10:15 PM
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In reply to:
Buy a scale accurate to grams and use it for EVERYTHING that will go in your pack, or on your body. The pack goes on there too. Did you know that the old style double-stem 0.75 Camalot is lighter than the new single-stem version? Neither did I till I put them on the scale.

I'll second that. I have a digital fish scale. I know what every single piece of my gear weighs. I keep a list in a spreadsheet. Before a trip I check off on the list what I'm planning to take. The spreadsheet tells me to within a half pound what my full pack will weigh (including food and water). I then pare down the list to get the weight I want. After a trip I review my list to remove anything I could have left behind. I save my lists for each trip so I have a record of what I took on what type of trips (season, type of climbing, number of nights out, etc.). When planning a trip I pull up an old list for a similar style trip and I have a starter list to work with. Doing this over the years, I now have some pretty good, bare minimum gear lists for different types of trips, and my time spent on gear planning is almost nothing. And, I don't forget anything.

But then, I have some AR tendencies. :lol:


ergophobe


Sep 9, 2003, 11:04 PM
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I think a biker friend said it best once: "I was thinking of getting titanium rims, but then decided it was cheaper to lose five pounds".


I have some housemates who don't have five pounds to lose, so at that point you need to shave every gram off your gear, but consider this.

Let's say your average biner weighs 43gms and you replace them with a biner weighing 36gms, costing $8 each.
(4 biners/oz saved) x $8/biner x 16oz/pound = $512/pound.

Let's say that in one hour of hard exercise you burn 700kcals (that's a 155 pound person biking at 14-16mph or running 10min miles) . That means that every five hours, you lose one pound assuming you don't spend extra on food. Also, you don't have to burn a whole pound, because you're getting fitter and can carry more, but forget that for the moment.

That means that every 5 hours spent exercising saves you $512 buying biners. So if you make $103 per hour, it's most efficient to go buy lighter gear. Me, I'm going running tomorrow. I still have about 6-8 pounds to lose before I can justify buying more neutrinos.

See you non-doctors and non-lawyers on the trails tomorrow?

Tom


pico23


Sep 10, 2003, 12:48 PM
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In reply to:
I think a biker friend said it best once: "I was thinking of getting titanium rims, but then decided it was cheaper to lose five pounds".


I have some housemates who don't have five pounds to lose, so at that point you need to shave every gram off your gear, but consider this....

Let's say your average biner weighs 43gms and you replace them with a biner weighing 36gms, costing $8 each.
(4 biners/oz saved) x $8/biner x 16oz/pound = $512/pound....

That means that every 5 hours spent exercising saves you $512 buying biners. So if you make $103 per hour, it's most efficient to go buy lighter gear. Me, I'm going running tomorrow. I still have about 6-8 pounds to lose before I can justify buying more neutrinos.

See you non-doctors and non-lawyers on the trails tomorrow?

Tom

Thanks for hitting my point exactly.


herm


Sep 10, 2003, 10:20 PM
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If every item of material on your body totals over ten discrete items, you are not behaving in a confident manner. Ten essentials means things you must have to live. Ultimate ten essentials list :


hangerlessbolt


Sep 10, 2003, 11:19 PM
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I liked the body weight idea as well...a friend of mine brought that up to me one day while we were in REI shopping...

He said, "You know...if you just drop 10 lbs...you wouldnt have to worry so much about the lite is right methodology."


That's when I killed him.

LoL


atg200


Sep 11, 2003, 8:42 AM
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on the other hand, on big cold mountaineering trips i enjoy laughing while watching my 6% body fat partners shiver and freeze while my added insulation keeps me warm. dropping weight is often not a good idea while going to high altitude for long periods of time - i question if the folks suggesting that have ever been above 20K feet before.

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