Rain Gear for Big Wall


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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?

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

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

Trad climber
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

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.

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

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!!

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

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.

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.


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.

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 ......


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.

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!


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!


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!
Messages 21 - 40 of total 58 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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