gear

Review of 40-50L rucksacks for alpine climbing 2018

Rucksacks are in a way the most troubling gear to choose, not because there are so few to choose from, unlike most other climbing gear, but because there are so many! Yet not a single one would be perfect. It is partly because the use varies so much, and different sort of activities demand different types of rucksacks, and partly because some demands are inherently contradictory, such as durability and (light-)weight.

After all a rucksack is just a bag on your back, and so you may argue you could manage whatever you have, as long as its volume is adequate for your use. It is true to some extent, but it is the same as claiming top climbers could climb an E1 with wellies. Yes, they could, but will they if they have a choice? No. Can they climb an E8 with wellies? No.

Rucksacks are arguably the second most important gear after boots or shoes in (alpine) climbing or mountaineering, as you use one all the time on your back often for hours continuously. That means the difference in rucksacks determines whether you can enjoy every moment or you suffer every second. Given you do climbing for fun ultimately (if type-II) and not for the sake of pain, to get a right sack is very important.

Also, with a wrong rucksack, your climbing ability and hence safety in mountains are marginalised, too, compared with otherwise.

Let’s get it right.

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Static ropes for climbing

Climbers in general are, unlike dynamic ropes, not main users of static ropes. The predominant use of static ropes is industrial use, such as, in a work environment of tall buildings, towers (oil-rigging etc) and for ships and tree-climbing. Within sports, apart from marine sports like sailing, it is heavily used in caving and canyoning.

After all, to climb something ground-up, which is arguably what climbing is all about, climbers vitally need dynamic ropes to absorb a shock in potential falls. Even though there is some use for static ropes in climbing as summarised in the text, its use is somewhat limited, though you really want one when you do.

For that reason, the knowledge about static ropes by climbers, as well as stocks of them in climbing shops, tends to be limited, whereas a large number and variety of static ropes are available in the market, which can be confusing. Here is my attempt to summarise what is the feature to look for, and what sort of models are available as of 2016 in the market.

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Equipment to start Scottish winter-climbing

Photos of winter gear

Now, you want to start winter climbing in Scotland (or North Wales or Lake District when the conditions are suitable). What do you need for the equipment? Here is a list for a day Scottish winter-climbing. Mind you, it is just a brief summary — I could write an entire post per item… But hopefully this would give you an idea of what you would need, as a starting point.

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