Author Topic: Cutting Weight  (Read 4989 times)

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Offline Garbonzo

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Cutting Weight
« on: January 24, 2007, 05:43:33 pm »
For backpacking I've got my 3-4 day pack under 25 lbs.  When I first got into it it was typically 50 lbs for a weekend trip.  I keep thinking more can be done to shave things down for bigwalls long before reaching the "suffering" point.  For ultralight backpacking dudes go nuts when paring every item down to it's absolute minimum.  Folks spending big bucks for a wind shirt out of 0.9 oz ripstop to replace their 1.1 oz version boggles my mind as much it shames me.  Meanwhile we have ledges with 420d fly fabric, and double thickness 420d bad material...

Obviously water and water content of food really can't be compromised on too much.  Water can always be poured out or donated to the next sucker.

What are your tricks?

Confessions:
I end up with 2 pigs for even short stuff, and only have used single ledges.  20 lbs potential savings there
I always have leftover food, probably 5-8 lbs worth.  Appetite is just lessened on the wall.
I don't pre-rig my poop bags, and always bring too much kitty litter.
I suffer badly from the "just in case" mindset when putting together the rack.

Offline the_dude

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2007, 11:30:13 pm »
I hear ya, the weight can be a killer sometimes. For shorter stuff, I'm alright suffering for one night out. Sometimes a hammock will do the trick instead of a ledge. Plus just the thought of sleeping in a hammock will get you moving to do things in a push, and then it becomes a just in case thing. I also foget the shit tube and go for tupperware now (poop in a plastic ziplock then tupperware and then duct taped shut).
Other things, only one puffy jacket total used for belays, you got the sleeping bags for night time. Lately we've only taken one beer a peice for the summit vs beer for each night. less water consumed from the diuretic effect and weight saved by less beer.  Other little things, all wire gates, thinner haul line, 60m instead of 70(never stretched a 70m pitch yet).
On longer hikes carrying two smaller pigs vs one bigger pig distributes the weight better for hiking.
The only thing I don't skimp on is water, food and water proofing.
I'm looking foward to hearing some other ideas.

Offline lunchbox

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2007, 10:27:52 am »
Quote
I also foget the shit tube and go for tupperware now (poop in a plastic ziplock then tupperware and then duct taped shut).

I use a WAG bag, then split open an empty water bottle, stuff it and duct tape that.  It still stinks, but i like the nice, inviting opening of the WAG bag vs. a ziplock.

Also, plan your breakfast and dinner as one meal split for two people instead of both of you bringing separate things to eat.  Everything has to be shared or you'll find yourself on the summit with another wall worth of food.  We topped out on the Prow and my buddy pulls out a one lb. of sesame sticks, 3 cans of fruit, two half eaten bags of trial mix, 3-4 bars, a couple of bagels and some peanut butter.  He brought way too much food and had shared most of mine.     

buy 16oz. cans of Cobra or Ole E to share with dinner, a major weight saver.  Or enough buy 16 oz cans of Cobra or Ole E so you can have your own can for dinner.   

You can have the lightest gear on the planet and it'll still be really !@#$ heavy. 

The best way to save weight is to go faster.  Learn to short fix and lead in blocks.  You can turn a 4 pitch day into 6 pitch day if you do two, three pitch blocks.  You'll save one full day of climbing for every two days you short fix.  And the cool thing is it's not that hard to do,  just keep the leader moving. 

Offline Baltoro

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2007, 05:31:15 pm »
The 70m rope shouldn't be for "linking" pitches, it is for short fixing. The extra 10m allows the leader to keep moving before they run out of rope. If you keep the leader moving, you'll cut days off your wall and thus cut weight.
Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I am too lazy to do either.
M. Twight

Offline the_dude

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2007, 12:02:22 am »
The 70m rope shouldn't be for "linking" pitches, it is for short fixing. The extra 10m allows the leader to keep moving before they run out of rope. If you keep the leader moving, you'll cut days off your wall and thus cut weight.
I short fix on most routes now and still haven't come to the end of a 70m, but I'm probably pretty slow ( I like to believe my partner is really fast at jugging!). I agree though, short fixing is definetely the way to go to shave days/weight on walls.
cheers

Offline johnmac

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2007, 10:40:16 am »
Can anyone please recommend a good light haul line that is a good comprise between weight and durability. Rapping and hauling only.

Right now I'm using a Bluewater 7/16 x 60m and I'm thinking it is overkill for what I'm using it for. I weighed it yesterday and its almost 11lbs and considerably heavier than my 10.2mm x 60 Mammut supersafe lead rope.

Thanks.

John

Offline Garbonzo

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2007, 12:20:48 am »
I've been using a new england ropes KMIII I got from sierra trading post, last time I checked they still stocked them for about $114.  I got mine for about $100, which was my main motivation.  It's 9.5mm, listed at 8 lbs 14oz.  Dropping down to an 9mm or even and 8mm probably would shave more for pure hauling and rapping.  So far I've been happy with mine, it's fat enough to inspire confidence while jugging, and not too monstrous.  Knots well too.  A bit fast for rapping with a gri-gri, but ok in my jaws on the natched side.  Definitely not the lightest out there.

Offline lunchbox

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2007, 09:16:20 am »
I just retired an old KMIII static.  I thought it was a really good rope for hauling and rapping. 

I've used everything from 8mm to 11mm to haul and rap and i've got to say that i like the 11mm best.  i think they haul better ie. more efficent and inspire confidence when rapping as a single on a gri gir and atc.  even the 10mm statics i've used seem don't hold up as well or make me feel as good (especially when wet!!!!). 

for big wall cragging in the valley, looking glass and zion, the weight savings on the approach and decent isn't significant enought for me to skimp anymore. 

anyone know what's up with rope makers selling static lines marked in inches and not millimeters?  it's just too confusing for my small brain to convert. 

Offline tomtom

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2007, 04:49:06 pm »
I've used an 8 mm Beal tag line for hauling solo loads.  Haven't quite got the system for rapping on it down yet.  Always feel a little out of control.

Sure is light, though.

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2007, 10:01:09 pm »
I've shaved 1 full pound off my rack by going to all new style camalots and using wiregates and or neutrinos. That's my free rack tho. Unfortunately lots of my wall rack is actually my old gear.

I'm no longer going to use a heavy static line. Just too damn heavy and wirey.


Offline johnmac

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2007, 04:14:13 pm »

Offline caribouman

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2007, 10:23:25 pm »
Some thoughts on weight savings...

-The best article I ever read on weight savings was written by a road cyclist who got disgusted at not being able to keep up on the hills.  "I've literally seen guys spend $7000 to save 7 grams.  I started asking myself, 'Why not take 70 pounds off the rider?' ".  He changed himself & stopped worrying about the bike.  So here's a question for you:  Is the weight of gear getting in the way of you enjoying your sport? 

- Can you make some trade-offs to increase enjoyment (buy all new wire-gates, save 4#, and bring the stove for coffee in the morning, add 2# back on), or is the haul killing you and you flat-out need to trim the overall weight?   

- Food:  Weigh before you leave and when you get home.  Multiply the leftover amount by .25 and add that to the amount consumed.  Divide by the number of days you just spent on the wall.  The result is the amount of food (by weight), that you can take with you, eat most of, and still have a bit of safety margin.

- Stove:  Don't bring it. 

  [Consumed # + .25(Leftover#)]/days on wall => #/day on next wall  (sorry, was with the food line, can't copy & paste)

- Water:  Same approach, although I'm told that if you hydrate all the time (i.e. Camelbak), you end up needing less water overall.     Might be worth an experiment.

- Ledge:  Climb with a partner, share a double (2 x 14# = 28# vs. 1 x 18#) save 10#.  Or use hammocks, which weigh 4#...Hmm (2 x 4# = 8# vs 18#), that's another 10#.

- Pigs:  2 guys with 3 pigs between 'em isn't bad, one personal pig each and a team pig for the gear...

- Kitty Litter:  Same deal as the food/ water reduction method

- Pro:  When you get home from that next climb, pick out all the pieces of pro you didn't use.  Don't put them back on the rack.
I read an article years ago comparing all then available pro, weight vs. expansion range.  Lowe balls ruled the small end, Lowe Tri-cams rule the fingers - to -hands range, and active cams ruled from fat hands up.  A weird thought:  If you're in Yosemite, try hexes.  They were designed for that place, they don't weigh much and they feel totally secure (well, to me)

-Routes:  Climb clean aid only, and save the hammer and associated iron.  Big weight savings!

- Biners:  I checked out everything said when I first signed up here, and dang!  I went out, coughed up the bucks, and bought wire gates.  Shaved something like 4# off just by getting rid of the old Chouinard & SMC ovals...

- All of that said, I love physical work, get stupid when I get dehydrated, grumpy when I'm hungry, and haven't had a good nights' sleep.  The idea of waking up wet and hypothermic, and too clumsy-fingered to tie two lines together for a rappel scares the crap out of me.  One of my unhappiest nights was spent shivering in slings & harness on Sentinel (3 oranges, 2 granola bars, 2 liters of water), and one of my best was spent tied to a ledge on Mt Dana having just made fresh vegetable minestrone from scratch (40# pack for an overnight, 2 MSR X-GK stoves).  I used love "light & fast" alpine stuff, but I don't see that big walls can really be that way, you're just too exposed.   I'd rather take a comfortarian mindset, and haul the extra weight.

- Why are you up there?  What's with the speed?   Why do you want to get back off so bad?  Can you trade more fear for less weight and be happy doing it?  (Skinny jug lines, no bolt kit)  Maybe you need (given what you've said about food water & the rack) to be climbing new/harder routes, where your overkill is a better match to the overall uncertainty.
 
 

when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

Offline Mr.

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2007, 08:25:28 pm »
Lightweight gear might help cut weight down, but generally most people just take too much shi*t. When lunchbox and I were climbing the captain in july we could fit everything in a half dome haul bag including water for 3 days. Having a consistent wall partner helps because you know what they are going to bring.

I think lightweight static ropes are not as efficient because they stretch considerably more. Go for the 11mm right away if you are using it for wall applications.  They are sooo easy to haul and jug, and much more durable. Most people will agree.

Offline the_dude

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2007, 05:17:36 pm »
nice post Caribouman! You got a good point, some routes are worth hanging out on longer.

Offline lunchbox

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2007, 02:12:31 am »

"When lunchbox and I were climbing the captain in july we could fit everything in a half dome haul bag including water for 3 days."

We even took a stove on with us....

gotta have coffee to go fast....

Offline zippyslug

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2007, 11:21:56 pm »
From my years of backpacking, one thing always stuck with me - if you really want to shave weight, start with yourself.
It'd be better to keep the burly biners and skip that last beer or desert.  Just a thought for the heavy weight climbers (yes, this includes me!).

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2007, 12:38:34 am »
hardcore cyclists say the same thing...

you can crap more than you save weight on purchasing ultra light components

Offline Feral Rat

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2007, 08:40:10 pm »
For 5 days or less two people should take one bag.  that is the best way to save weight.  Take the second bag and stuff your girlfriend in it and lock it in the closet ( she will be way happy to see you come home).

If you only allow yourself that one bag you cannot take a ton of stuff.  I would say three people and a three day wall one bag.  Everybody shows up the weekend before the wall with all their stuff.  Nobody leaves till the bag is packed.  A second backpack is useful to get stuff up to the climb.  For packing use long narrow stuff sacks they pack better.
Here's ta sweat in your eye

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2007, 01:17:10 am »
For 5 days or less two people should take one bag.  that is the best way to save weight.  Take the second bag and stuff your girlfriend in it and lock it in the closet ( she will be way happy to see you come home).

If you only allow yourself that one bag you cannot take a ton of stuff.  I would say three people and a three day wall one bag.  Everybody shows up the weekend before the wall with all their stuff.  Nobody leaves till the bag is packed.  A second backpack is useful to get stuff up to the climb.  For packing use long narrow stuff sacks they pack better.

kewl, elusive Feral Rat post. 


Offline caribouman

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2007, 10:55:19 am »
Well...

I've been watching the local canoe race from just below a rapid that contestants are allowed to portage.  It's ten miles of flat-water paddling to this point, and racers can be pretty tired.  No question, the folks who seem really wiped at the portage are the ones who have more personal flotation built in.

I'm also looking at the overall impact:  There's a huge difference between carrying a 90# canoe and a 30# canoe... maybe that's the equivalent of a heavy  haul versus a light one.  But the racers will tell you that the way to avoid arriving at the portage already tired is to use a light weight paddle, and that overall, the light weight paddle is more important than a light weight canoe.  I'm thinking the paddle is the equivalent of the climber's rack.

So, using a lot tired canoeists as a guide...
1st - I'll take the weight off me
2nd - when I can't take any more weight off me, I'll take it off the rack
3d - I'll take stuff out of the haul bag

I'm off to vulture at the next rapid, the carnage has been great this year!

 

when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

Offline lambone

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2007, 01:28:05 pm »
For El Cap, really the only reason to cut weight out of the bag is if you have slab hauling or to save your back on the decent. If you are going standard "camping wall style" then you might as well be comfortable and have plenty of beer and good tunes. Just be prepared for heavy hauling at the start.

Don't EVER carry your full load to the base in a haulbag, it is about the worst thing you could do to your body before starting a wall, and you'll feel deafeted before you even touch the big stone.  I once carried in for a trip up the NA and just at the base of the route tripped under the heavy bag and smashed my knee, end of trip. Instead carry a succesion of loads to the base in a well fitting and supportive backpack. I usually carry at least three loads.

load 1- rack+ ropes, and climbing gear. Fix a pitch or two and leave the valuables at the top of the fixed line. (this allways makes me a bit nervous)
load 2- Water (don't pre-mix gatorade or the bears will get into it, and stash it well so climbers don't poach it)
load 3- food and bivi gear( this goes up in the haulbag on the day you blast)

If you must go lighter then cut out the luxuries like beer. Just don't bring any extra shit that you won't use.
Don't bring anything in a can, Chilli and Tuna, and Fruit can all be bought in soft pachaging now made of foil or plastic.

The metolius Waste Case is a lot lighter then a conventional PVC poop tube, but you may need one per person on a longer route.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2007, 01:33:19 pm by lambone »

Offline deuce4

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2007, 05:08:23 pm »
Lambone-

That's some of the best advice I have seen lately, that is, don't try to carry the whole load in one go to the base.  Contrary to that simple wisdom, that is what I did every time for my 30 some-odd El Cap ascents, and more than anything else, it's probably the reason why I eventually got burned out.

The worst mistake I ever made was carrying everything (including extra cans of beans!) down on my back after a solo ascent of the Shield, down the 8-mile trail to boot.  I couldn't walk for days afer that.  I remember walking into camp and the first person I saw was Werner, who told me, "you're looking pretty bad." (probably phrased more cleverly than that, knowing Werner).  It was far tougher than the climb itself.
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Offline lambone

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2007, 05:14:19 pm »
ha! yeah...man I can sypathize!

When I soloed El Cap I think I made 5 carries to the base over the course of two days. I had no help, and it was the middle of August. The only problem with that was I saw lots of snakes on all the trips and they scared me more then the wall.

When i hilked off I did two seperate carries. I hiked the first bag down to the raps then wen't back for the second bag. I was out of food and water and the whole ordeal was pretty heinous, but the weight was managable (barely).

cheers


Offline alpineH

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2007, 12:04:18 am »
Lambone,
   I will second the comments from "deuce4".  Solid and simple advise that comes from experience?not reading.  I can remember my first few walls, even small local walls up at Index, Wa, seemed to be lessons on what 'Not to do' rather than how to aid and manage big loads.  That?s one of the reasons I love this sport, always learning how to be faster and lighter.

Offline Feral Rat

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Re: Cutting Weight
« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2007, 07:04:23 pm »
 I cannot imagine leaving the beer out to save weight.  That's just not right.
Here's ta sweat in your eye