3 Climbing Gear Elements You Should always Carry in Multi Pitch Routes

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Whether you're at your first multi pitch climb or you're a veteran and climbing an unknown route (oh yes, I preach to you, veteran) there are three pieces of gear you should always carry with you: two half ropes, mobile protection devices and slings.

Two half ropes. Why?!
Half Rope
In the worst case scenario, two ropes are a means to self rescue. If, for whatever reason, you cannot climb anymore (accident, fatigue, thunder storm, etc.) you can get down twice as fast compared to having just one rope. Especially with longer half ropes these days (60 or 70 meters) you can rappel over two or three pitches at once. This saves precious times and gets you faster to safe grounds (literally).

Another reason for climbing with half ropes in multi pitch routes consists of their elasticity. Since they are thinner than single ropes, the shock force transferred to the last anchor point (and the climber) in case of a fall is smaller. And in old routes, where pitons were hammered more than 20 - 30 years ago you don't wanna fall too hard...
Multi Pitch Climbing with Half Ropes
Sometimes the route doesn't follow a straight line. If the line of pitons is sinuous then you clip the left rope on the left side pitons and the right rope on the right side pitons. You won't experience any drag and the fall impact will be absorbed properly by the the full length of the rope available from you (lead climber) to your belayer.

When I started climbing I had no idea that three persons could climb a long route, being part of the same team. Two half ropes make this possible - the lead climber ties both ropes on his harness and each second ties himself/herself at the other end of each rope.

Nuts and cams
Oh boy! Do you enjoy long runouts? I don't!

A few meters between bolts in sport climbing lines - that's manageable in terms of emotion (just a fancy word for fear) but when it comes to high alpine walls and old pitons...you wanna have those pieces for extra protection. It's also about comfort of mind. You'll climb better and more relaxed when you're better protected.

Don't mix climbing with ego - your manhood (even if you're a girl) is not at stake when you're climbing - you're allowed to be scared!

Since the pioneers only had pitons, you may find belay stances where the anchor points are rather loose in the large cracks. That's where a bunch of friends come in handy for making a stronger belay. So, always carry a few cams and nuts - you never know where you're gonna need them.

Slings are universal tools:
  • you can make knots on them and use them as nuts (like on the sandstone towers in Saxon Switzerland and Czech Republic where you're not allowed to use metal mobile protections)
  • use them as prusik knots for securing your abseil or for climbing up the rope
  • make a foot loop to pass that aid climbing crux
  • not to mention their versatility in any survival situation
Of course these three gear elements are just part of the arsenal you must take in long alpine routes. Just think about what your biggest fears are and equip yourself accordingly.

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