Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Packing for a Sport Climbing Trip

I was originally really excited to write this post.  I was supposed to finish up a bunch of school stuff, make sure all my dance stuff was prepped since we have competition in a week and a half, and head down to Kentucky today for 4 days of climbing in the beautiful Red River Gorge.
Then I woke up and saw this:

Which turned in to this:

My crew ended up pulling the plug on the trip.  The road we were planning on taking down through Wisconsin was apparently pure ice, and the snow storm and blowing snow was going to follow us as far as Chicago.  If we waited until tomorrow to drive down, that means we would have more driving time than climbing time to get back by Monday when I teach dance in the evening.
I'm torn about this turnout.  While I'm exceedingly bummed out (a climbing trip at any time is awesome), another part of me knows that I'll be heading down to the Gorge in May for at least a week, and I now have time to start grading the 75 8-page papers I collected from my students on Tuesday.

Yeah.  Those.
I'll also be able to see my family this weekend at our Easter get-together, which is actually really fantastic since I didn't get to attend Christmas this year due to being in Florida with my folks.
The sacrifices, eh?
Instead of knitting on the 15 hour drive each way, I'll knit tomorrow during my duty day at my college during meetings and in the car driving to the cities for the weekend.  Not a bad trade, if you ask me.
The sad thing is, I was actually packed and ready to go when the plug was pulled.  I had my gear bag, my camping bag, and even my knitting bag set.
So, what does a lady climber bring on a Gorge trip in the spring, you might ask?
Well, for starters, you need the proper climbing equipment!

To start, my day pack is Black Diamond's Bolt Pack from a couple of seasons ago.  If you can't tell from the numerous patches, it's accompanied me for a ton of trips already.  It's the perfect for both a sport climbing or a lead climbing day; I've fit a double rack, personal gear, rope, and food for the day in there with a comfy suspension system to get to the climb, no matter the hike in.
Whenever I go to the Gorge, I always bring at least 12 sport quickdraws.  This is a minimum.  Mine are Mammut's Element Key Lock set in a nice red.  They're a little beefier than some of the slim and light sets, but when I'm going from car to crag in two minutes, they're perfect. Plus, I'm used to carrying 7-10 pounds of trad gear, so a could extra ounces for these lovely draws isn't much.
The other draws you see are alpine draws.  One of my partners and I wanted to do some trad climbing, and the deal was if he brought the trad gear, I would bring the alpine draws which extend (which in meandering trad climbing is a must).  I also have a couple of extra prusik cords for rappelling or a smaller climber lowering a larger climbing in case someone forget them, as well as some rolls of tape, a water bottle, and my knee brace.
My harness is Black Diamond's Aura Harness, lightweight and beautiful.  I was planning on bringing two pairs of shoes, both from Evolv.  My trusty Geshido SC shoes (bright green) are my absolute favorite pair of climbing shoes EVER.  Evolv is not making any more of these amazing shoes, and I'm almost at the point of buying like four pairs of backup for the next ten years of climbing.  That's how much I love those shoes.  The other are a pair of Evolv's Shamans, women's version.  I got these on a pro deal when I was still at VE, and I'm still breaking them in.  No verdict yet... :)
As for clothes, I try to keep it to a minimum with room for error, or the "In case it rains like crazy and I need a backup set of clothes" scenario. :)  Since I'm only car camping, I'm not too worried about bringing an extra something-or-other with.

Even in the depths of summer, I tend to just wear pants rolled up for climbing, and I love Prana's Halle pants.  They breathe well but protect against the elements, and the roll holds when it's time to get down to business.  For seriously hard sport routes and nighttime lounging, I brought my amazing tasc Performance Nola Crops, which are easily becoming my favorite piece of clothing ever.  I truly tested their "stink-proof" claim last week (just for fun), and they lasted through an hour of very hot yoga, two hours of climbing, my 3-mile run, and 3 hours of dance.  Normally I'd be one stinky lady, but they somehow held up and had no stink.  It's black magic.  I'm so glad I took advice from The Morning Fresh on that one- and I plan on getting another pair in the future!
For a zip-up warmth layer, I got an Ibex Shak Lite Hoody for Christmas, and the bright blue is perfect for summer needs.  My thinner long sleeve is a "so-last-season" North Face 1/2 zip on sale from Backcountry, but I wore it on Devil's Tower during the height of summer and have packed it on climbing trips ever since for both chilly weather and a block against the sun.  Since spring means a variety of temps, I packed three Tshirts and 2 tank tops for the trip, along with a pair of legwarmers in case it got chilly at night.  Besides my raincoat, my headlamp, and my Mammut zero-degree down jacket from a few years ago (always need a puffy!), I was set!
Then the weather turned to poo.

Guess I get to watch the cats chase each other around the apartment instead and be all responsible.
Good thing I have all summer to go on trips... :)

(PS- This post was in no way sponsored by anyone I've mentioned above.  I use and recommend the gear listed above based on years of climbing and gads of trips I've taken.)

1 comment:

Songbird Serenade said...

I found you! Sorry about the snow! We had a snow day yesterday.. just crazy