Rain Gear for Big Wall

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Messages 1 - 58 of total 58 in this topic
johnr9q

Sport climber
Sacramento, Ca
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 19, 2012 - 11:34am PT
I want to do the Zodiac on ElCap next week and want to know what to wear to keep me dry if it rains and snows. thanks for your suggestions. I say some previous threads on this subject but they are all at least 5 years old so thot there might be something new.
WBraun

climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:40am PT
keep me dry if it rains and snows

This is the only thing that's sure fire bomber and has actually been used by someone on a Winter ascent.

He said it saved his ass when icy water runoff was pouring all over him as he was topping out.

johnr9q

Sport climber
Sacramento, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 19, 2012 - 11:51am PT
WBraun: That is probably perfect if it were pouring rain or if I were in a waterfall (I know those situations are possible but we will use avoidance as much as possible to protect us from those situations) I was looking for something that would be more versatile.
WBraun

climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:57am PT
if it were pouring rain or if I were in a waterfall

You ever been up there in a storm?
johnr9q

Sport climber
Sacramento, Ca
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 19, 2012 - 12:14pm PT
No I haven't. Are you serious about that body suit? Where do I get one. I am going with a climber that has done the nose in less than 4 hours so avoidance might be more of a possibility than with a normal climber. (we can probably rap in short order)
WBraun

climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 12:19pm PT
No I'm not serious.

What I'm serious about is you better understand the full nature about the beast when the sh!t hits the fan up there at this time of the year.

You better be fully prepared.

People have died not taken this seriously.

If you are even thinking of YOSAR as a backup then you have already failed .....
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Nov 19, 2012 - 12:31pm PT
Board shorts!!
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Nov 19, 2012 - 12:42pm PT
Werner is right. At a minimum I would go with a kayak style top, one that has a neoprene neck cuff and wrist cuffs. Last time I was in a storm up there nailing away in regular rain gear the ice water was going in my sleeves and fire-hosing out my pant legs.

The only thing that will really keep you dry up there is steepness. Once you start futzing around in the rain or water or anything else, you are probably in a heap of sh#t. Stay dry at all costs.

Oh... and YER GONNA DIE!!!

to add: go up fat. During my "event" I started the wall weighing about 180 lbs. When I got down I weighed 162. I'm glad I had a lot of ass to burn and needed it all.
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Vancouver Canada
Nov 19, 2012 - 12:46pm PT
Credit: The Gore-Tex Company
matlinb

Trad climber
Albuquerque
Nov 19, 2012 - 10:21pm PT
Boater Talk is a good site for used kayaking gear. A semi-dry top can be had for under $100 (http://boatertalk.com/gear/gear-detail.php?gid=67453);
Prod

Trad climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 10:38pm PT
Hey Johnr9q,

Here is my Favorite bedtime story. AWESOME READ.

http://www.fishproducts.com/topos/nativeTR/nativeTR.html

From Russ Wallings Fish Products site. Russ posted 2 or 3 posts above.

You most certainly may die without Fish Gear on your rack.

http://www.fishproducts.com/index1.html

Prod.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Nov 19, 2012 - 10:44pm PT
I am going with a climber that has done the nose in less than 4 hours

I would just ask your super-climber what he is going to use during your ascent.

Or get a Kagool...
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:01pm PT
check the weather dumbass
xtrmecat

Big Wall climber
Kalispell, Montanagonia
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:05pm PT
Johnr9q, I just returned home at 1200 miles and some change, after two days of humping loads to Zodiac. Seven days invested door to door. Total trip expenses were $1250. Why leave the valley without doing the Zodiac?

I do walls solo most of the time. Most of my climbing is winter. Zodiac is well within my ability. I already have the proper gear and experience.

Answer, the forcast just was not right, and as stated above, YOSAR is not part of any plans. My forcast was only wet with more wet. A storm would likely end all wall climbing forever. Worth the risk. Not in my book.

I would really wish everone would rethink things as such this. But then the trip reports would be mediocre, and not epic after epic. See the thread about rappelling the nose. Stuff happens on it's own, starting with a probable problem built into the plan. Epic at best case.

Burly Bob

Captain...or Skully

climber
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:12pm PT
You can get hammered up there. I bailed out of a Winter storm once. It sucked a lot.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:16pm PT
Dry top. Rubber rain pants. neoprene hood. and gloves. That's just what you should have this time of year.
splitter

Trad climber
Cali Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:18pm PT
You might take into consideration your feet also (not sure if anyone has covered that). I know of one person that I climbed with who got severe frostbite on his feet. Hampered his climbing for some time. Not sure if he fully recovered. That took place high on the NA wall. Standing and belaying his partner in an icy waterfall. Not sure what type of covering you could use in that type of situation.

edit: maybe that suit that WB posted.

He couldn't freeclimb at all for awhile. And he lived in the Valley full time and generally did it almost everydy. Worked for the guide school. Had to slowly ease back into climbing and leading relatvely easy free climbs since he had no, or little feeling in his feet. So, it can get real serious up there (like someone already said).
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:27pm PT
Rock one of these North Sea suits...I'll rent ya mine....





Me and Flanders in full conditions on El Cap Tower

photo not found
Missing photo ID#196820

Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:51pm PT
(we can probably rap in short order)

Jose died rapping off Zodiac in a winter storm. Froze to death less then 100ft off the deck...
:( RIP

Edit:
http://www.stanford.edu/~clint/yos/elcapd.txt

19. Joseph E. Crowe, 12/28/2002. He was fixing to pitch 4 on Zodiac
when a sudden snowstorm blew in. He called for help at 7:30pm,
but when the rescuers arrived at 11pm, he had died, probably
from hypothermia. He was at the end of a rope, 25' off the
ground when the rescue party found him.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 19, 2012 - 11:55pm PT
You'll love it....




Me following the 2nd pitch of Zodiac in late November.....
photo not found
Missing photo ID#236885
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Nov 20, 2012 - 12:04am PT
Being able to hunker down in a freezing waterfall seems like something you would want your ledge to be able to handle. Sure it's dumb to go up with a bad forecast but even a good forecast can prove unreliable.

What ledge/fly combo would folks recommend?
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 20, 2012 - 12:06am PT
Go for full comfort....flies are for sissys.

photo not found
Missing photo ID#258773
Fogarty

climber
BITD
Nov 20, 2012 - 12:11am PT
I always packed a Big 5 poncho, thank GOD I never needed one.
mctwisted

Trad climber
e.p.
Nov 20, 2012 - 12:25am PT
i like that one piece suit in werners first post, i have the same suit (but thank god it has the pee zipper!) thats only if it gets really bad. ive also used my drytop, and rainpants, but my fav was semi drytop with latex wrist gaskets and you put the rack on. then optional big raincoat over that
only reason i tried all is i had these items from my kayaking gear, and was hell bent on going up in alpine conditions.
it can get real nasty up there, real fast.
part of being prepared might be to read the accidents that have happened up there in the past, i know there have been two teams that were frozen solid to the wall, werner and i were on the recovery team on both(wish i could forget that)
and then there are the many rescues that have saved lives up there, which is educational reading(is it mountaineering accidents of north america?)
and you definately want to read russ wallings wall writeups on the fish website
enough preaching, hope it all works out well and you have fun and stay safe



view to the east from zodiac
view to the east from zodiac
Credit: mctwisted
looking up at the wide pitch, which had a 10' icicle hanging down and ...
looking up at the wide pitch, which had a 10' icicle hanging down and half the pitch was filled with ice, could of used an ice tool that time
turned out to be the crux of the route
Credit: mctwisted
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 20, 2012 - 12:30am PT
Maybe you should rap the route first....talk to Werner....he's the expert in this area.
Googlymoogly

climber
Nov 20, 2012 - 01:01am PT
I would really wish everone would rethink things as such this. But then the trip reports would be mediocre, and not epic after epic. See the thread about rappelling the nose. Stuff happens on it's own, starting with a probable problem built into the plan. Epic at best case.

You definitely don't want to be one of the guys who got rescued rappelling the nose...
Captain...or Skully

climber
Nov 20, 2012 - 01:08am PT
Or ever. Getting rescued sucks.

Oh, yeah. CRICKETS!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Nov 20, 2012 - 04:43am PT
Besides staying dry, you also need to stay warm. One of my partners (DES) met a guy who got desperately cold on Zodiac. He said he put every piece of clothing he had on, but could not get warm. And he wasn't even wet.... Being stuck at a belay for awhile and not being warm enough is bad.

Also, make sure you know how to descend when you can't simply rappel. I.e. the first person downaids the overhangs and the second person cleans and gets pulled in with the rope. I haven't seen this in any books, but it was on Andy Kirkpatrick's website at one time.

Dan's photos of the iced-up wide crack above Peanut - yikes!!
RP3

Big Wall climber
El Portal/Chapel Hill
Nov 20, 2012 - 08:48am PT
If your buddy can indeed climb The Nose in under 4 hours (WOW), and you are reasonably capable, then I bet you guys can find a 2 day window of good weather and you wont need to worry about bringing a drysuit!
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Nov 20, 2012 - 10:08am PT
Always remember, bring an ice axe to chop the ice out of the cracks. AND a guantanamo bay outfit and one of those box spring ledges. I want to do a winter ascent someday, too.
Roger Brown

climber
Oceano, California
Nov 20, 2012 - 10:14am PT
I have been the Belayer/Jug-Monkey on several walls and Clint is so right. You cannot believe how cold you can get just standing or hanging there, usually for hours at a time. Then it is your turn to go to work and you are sweating like a Pig by the time you get to the Anchor. I have cleaned in the rain and I have cleaned in the snow. The rain is the worst. The Jugs act like a Dam and the water runs down your sleeves and then out you pants legs. Then you are back belaying again, freezing your Ass off. I use a layering system. Icebreaker bottom layer, quality fleece mid layer, Gor-Tex top layer, and a hat that covers most of your face. That system has worked for me. You are going to be wet, (one way or the other) you just have to keep from becoming Hypothermic. One thing for sure, it will be a great adventure. Let us know how it goes.
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Nov 20, 2012 - 10:47am PT
I haven't seen any stories of using a 2-piece diving wetsuit (for easier pee/poo), but someone must have done it. Any stories?

Issues with skin pruning after a few days in a wetsuit? I grew up routinely wearing a wetsuit all day, but never continuously for days.

BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Nov 20, 2012 - 10:49am PT
One thing that I ALWAYS preach about taking is an extra large lawn garbage bag. No, you don't use it as your first line of defense on a wall, but they weigh nothing and you can crawl into them and crouch while staying dry.

I actually got that idea from reading that story about Bridwell and Mugs doing the Moose's Tooth.

I've used it a few times up in the arctic and it can be a life saver if you are caught with nothing else.

So always take a few extra garbage bags. I found this roll of them that is super thick and durable and huge. It still weighs only a few ounces. This isn't a replacement for your regular beefy gear recommended above, but it would save the lives of a fair number of day hikers if they just put one in their daypack.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Nov 20, 2012 - 10:51am PT
Check the weather, prepare adequately and have a really good plan for bailing or lasting through a storm.
WBraun

climber
Nov 20, 2012 - 10:58am PT
If your buddy can do the Nose in 4 hours then you'll probably do the Zodiac in 8 hours.

You won't need anything going at that speed except a pair of shorts and a bandana on your head to keep the sweat off ......

:-)
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Nov 20, 2012 - 11:04am PT
I havn't had a chance to look at all the ledge flys in a few years. Who is making the most bombproof, water tight fly's these days? I had pretty good faith in my old BD heavy storm fly BITD but never really had to test it other than using the garden hose on it.

You guys are making me think of neoprene cuffed arm gaiters. Seem simple to make.
Brian

climber
California
Nov 20, 2012 - 12:16pm PT
Good God, Dan's photo above looks grim. I climb mixed alpine routes all the time, but to get that high on Zodiac and to find that pitch in that condition armed with some nuts, cams, atriers, hooks, and the like? That must've been a truly, truly frightening discovery.

Dan: Let's hear the story of that lead!

Brian
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Nov 20, 2012 - 12:19pm PT
I had a Fish that was liberally gooped in all kinds of sealant and even plasti-dip on the contact edges.

Waterproof as a mo-fo.

I have been through storms, but never a bad cold one. I have always heard about how the wind can pick up your ledge and toss it around. In those situations water can come at you from below.

Which ledges currently are fully covered top to bottom? My old Fish wasn't. My old Grammici wasn't.

Believe it or not, the old Grammici original portaledges had a rainfly made out of superlight fabric that would fit in a tiny little stuff sack. I got rained on all night once and not a drop made it inside.

The rainfly is in the red stuff sack with "Grammici Products"o n it in black just to the left of my head. We always kept it clipped there in case you had to get up in the night and put the fly on. It is amazing that these things worked in little run of the mill rainstorms. We didn't know any better.

Credit: BASE104

Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Nov 20, 2012 - 12:41pm PT
If you are even thinking of YOSAR as a backup then you have already failed ....

GAWD! I would NEVER EVER climb in the valley if YOSAR wasn't there! That would be plain stupid!


(sarcasm)
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Nov 20, 2012 - 12:43pm PT

GAWD! I would NEVER EVER climb in the valley if YOSAR wasn't there! That would be plain stupid!

YER tellin' me! I would have never gotten the balls to climb after six if i didn't know they were there!!!111!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Nov 20, 2012 - 01:23pm PT
After six would be impossible if Werner's caring eye was not watching me while I move up that slippery thing.
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
Nov 20, 2012 - 02:33pm PT
I havn't had a chance to look at all the ledge flys in a few years. Who is making the most bombproof, water tight fly's these days? I had pretty good faith in my old BD heavy storm fly BITD but never really had to test it other than using the garden hose on it.

Not sure what the other guys do or use... but here is a quick shop test of the SuperDuty fly material we use on the FISH SuperDuty ledges. The biners tore through at 40lbs. That is an exceptional amount of weight. Some fly type fabrics will tear with as little as 4lbs hanging on them. I have more of this stuff kicking around and will at some point post a more thorough look-see on the FISH Blog.

Credit: Russ Walling

Credit: Russ Walling

Credit: Russ Walling

Of note is that getting a truly waterproof product with a high non-tear aspect is tough. It is sorta involved, but basically if the fibers of the base material can't knot up to stop a rip, the material will tear very easily. The waterproof coating hinders this knotting. Not enough waterproofing and your hole may not get any bigger but the fabric is also not going to be waterproof. There are fabrics available that can do both, but the price is astronomical. The stuff in the pics above is crazy waterproof. Don't have the numbers on me at the moment, but basically a firehose is not going to force water through the coating. Rain stands zero chance.

And not to drone on here, but rain and getting wet is a problem no doubt, but almost any fly will offer protection from rain. Condensation will still get you soaked while hanging out inside the fly. But what I always worry about more than the just getting wet part is the fly getting damaged in a storm and leaving you unprotected. Remember that sh#t will be washed off the summit and crash into your taut fly. Small rocks, sticks, ice etc. On a tight fly these items can slice your fly pretty easy. Once you get a tear like that, it will be almost impossible to save the fly if the wind is howling. That is why you MUST bring a bivy sack. This is also why I like using two ledges for a team. If one ledge gets whacked, you still have another one to bail into. This is mostly advice for cold weather climbing where big cold storms are going to rain on your parade.

The big 5 to stay alive in your ledge:
1. Make sure your equipment is in top shape
2. Hang your ledge in a steep area away from runoff
3. Know how to get your fly on and get it on early
4. Have a bivy sack
5. Have dry spare clothes
cliffhanger

Trad climber
California
Nov 20, 2012 - 05:03pm PT
A good idea mentioned here years ago is to wrap a blue foam or ensolite ground pad tightly around your torso for waterproof insulation. Cut some notches for your arms.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Nov 20, 2012 - 06:42pm PT
Thank-you! Mr FISH himself.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Nov 20, 2012 - 06:59pm PT
Every fall there are a few (or quite a few) teams up on the wall when the first big badass storm hits. That is when Yosar makes its money and people get whacked. Weather forecasts are getting really good.

Check the weather.

How many people have died on the last pitch of the Nose? Have they all been Japanese?

Fish's Native Son TR on his Fish Products page is epic. No thank you. Now there are cellphones and radios and all that jazz.

I know a lot of good climbers who have needed a rescue or at least a rope tossed over the edge to get them off pronto. Those ropes tossed over for self rescue are "micro rescues." If you have ever been to the top of El Cap with 6 feet of snow on top, even that is a nightmare. You get offroute and find yourself walking on top of the manzanitas. Then you break through and it is like falling into a Viet Cong punji stick trap. People ought to use Manzanita for rocket engine parts and stuff. It is some wicked strong material.

I was up there jumping off one early March and the snow depth was crazy.
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
Nov 20, 2012 - 07:21pm PT
only n00bs and rubes don't pack snowshoes.

n00bs and rubes. Don't be one.
eKat

Trad climber
BackInTheDitch BackInTheDirt BackInTheDay
Nov 20, 2012 - 07:27pm PT
http://www.backcountry.com/patagonia-skanorak-jacket

photo not found
Missing photo ID#274746

This is the rig you want.

I saw this thread in a whirlwind passed the BigMac and should have posted up at the time.

Nonetheless, these coats ROCK!

I bought a couple of them so we could paddle in comfort. . . and I ended up using mine for everything. . . Blanchard took his for walls. . . and he DIGS IT.

A N D . . . while you're at it. . . pick up a few dry bags with which to organize your haul bag. . . kayaking gear is the S H I T!

K

PSP also PP

Trad climber
Berkeley
Nov 20, 2012 - 07:58pm PT
sailing rain gear is good but it is heavy. But if you get in a bad storm you won't care about the heavy anymore.
mackenzie74

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Nov 20, 2012 - 08:02pm PT
Pick a good weather window for your trip.
Plaidman

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Nov 20, 2012 - 09:37pm PT
Layers are the way to go. I like Rodger's comments about sweating then sitting. I think one key is something that breaths. If you are working hard then sitting you are going to freeze. A big wall is not somewhere to experiment.

Werner already gave you the gear suggestion. I would think that would be all the information you need.

I would experiment at home on something small and not necessarily go up with something you have not all ready tested yourself. My .02 my not be worth much but it's all I got.

I am going to be testing stuff all winter up here in the PNW. It rains like to beat the band and sometimes it gets cold. I already tried the kayak top. The one I had turned me in to a stewed climber. But then again I sweat like a pig. I am going to try something like this:
http://nextadventure.net/level-six-chilko-splash-jacket.html

But I am not going on some big wall to try it out. It will be in a more controlled situation. I hate the thought of getting rescued.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 20, 2012 - 09:45pm PT
Truth is...if you are unprepared, there is a very good chance you will likely die long before rescue reaches you.
Plaidman

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Nov 20, 2012 - 10:02pm PT
^^^True that!^^^ So never rely on getting rescued!
I just hope that I am not so rescue adverse that I am unwilling to get it when I need it.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 20, 2012 - 10:04pm PT
Plaidman, I have over 700 rescue ops.....not once did any of them say, "no thanks."
Plaidman

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
Nov 20, 2012 - 10:18pm PT
Thank you for all your work and commitment to be there when the sh#t hits the fan.

I just want to be prepared to self rescue when I am able, and when I am not, thanks to all those that risk their lives to help others in need.

And if you showed up to rescue me, I would just be humble and say thanks dude.
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Nov 20, 2012 - 10:35pm PT
Me following the 2nd pitch of Zodiac in late November.....

Just to clarify . . . this is not the Zodiac on El Capitan.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Nov 21, 2012 - 06:31am PT
Kalimon...true.

Just my twisted sense of humor....I exagerate for effect.

But my point would be alongside those here that have stated how brutal things can be up there....there simply is no better solution than making good decisions based on forecast models (multiple, not just one), having REALLY good equipment, but ultimately, having your bailing technique perfected long before you need it.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Nov 21, 2012 - 08:14am PT
No doubt, I'm getting second thoughts about this too. Let's wait for a break in the weather.
mctwisted

Trad climber
e.p.
Nov 21, 2012 - 09:41am PT
here's another shot of a pitch up high on zodiac i had to deal with. sure would have been nice to have a couple ice tools, foot fangs and about 6 screws, would have been actually fun instead of the nightmare pitch that it turned out to be. that time sar could have gotten to us if we needed it (luckily the pitch was leadable with lots of hammer chopping for placements), but the other two close calls i had on other routes we would have been toast if we didnt figure it out ourselves, night time in monster storms. it can take alot of time to get help when the weather turns nasty, and the chopper can be grounded because of stormy weather.
sure wish i would have had some of those bomber fish products when i used to go up there in winter conditions bitd. i have gone to sleep when its hella windy, and ice chunks are hammering the fly, just thinking if the fly failed, there would be no possible way to make it through the night
advise tip: before a big weather event get all of your raingear on and get in your ledge with the fly carefully prerigged so as to not damage it. have a good quality bivy sack, so you have a chance if the fly doesnt hold up. i used to bring two flys,one for backup, but they were not so good as the fish fly. sue and i would share the double ledge, and it would get so condensated that all would get damp/wet within 24 hours, even the bags in the bivy sacs. having the raingear on while in the bags helped keep you dryer and warmer for the multi day bivi's, while waiting out the big storm. then when its time to get out and go your ready for action. have ropes/racks stashed in haulbag to keep dryer. cant tell you how many times our ropes and racks were frozen into solid unusable clumps of uselessness. hard to get psyched when you cant pull the trigger of a camming devise!
neoprene gloves and plastic boots are'nt a bad idea either, can wear the inner boot to sleep in
Credit: mctwisted
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