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How much gear do you leave behind on a mountain?

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How much gear do you leave behind on a mountain?

Postby Big Benn » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:06 am

Been following an amazing thread on UKclimbing.com about winter conditions in Snowdonia , Wales. I don't climb, but do walk the mountains, especially in winter, and the thread has given me really great and very up to date info about what to expect. Dan, (Nanuls), posted the link here in EUROPE some time again. Many thanks Dan.

One of a number of constant themes in the thread is climbers finding gear left behind by other climbers. Or climbers asking if anyone has found something they lost. Ice screws etc. Sometimes someone could almost start a gear shop up with what is being lost!

Made me wonder how common it is to lose, or maybe have to leave gear on a mountain?

Presumably part of the inevitable cost of climbing?

And I wonder if anyone here has any onteresting stories of being re-united with bits of gear they had lost. Like ice axes etc.
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Postby Autoxfil » Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:08 pm

I dropped three screws when my damn ice clipper broke on a gully in the Whites. Since then I've been much more careful and don't think I've left anything other than rap slings.

There are people that live in C4 and spend their days collecting gear from the bottom of Half Dome and El Cap.
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Postby MoapaPk » Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:20 pm

I've had an ice axe, two pairs of gloves, a trekking pole, a gps, several hats, and many sunglasses that have gone to live with Baby Jesus.
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Postby billisfree » Sat Mar 13, 2010 2:46 pm

I understand, a common item to lose - is a crampon - while glisading down.
My climbing instructor has several of them that he found on the snowfields.

Always make sure to secure them with a strap through any hole
in the metal base.
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Postby Patrick B » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:48 pm

In one day at the Gunks I found a nut, a runner, two Black Diamond biners (a wire and a bent gate[13N each]), a locking biner [17N ?], and a nut remover. All on my first day of rock climbing. It was nice :D

My instructor lost a quickdraw w/ two biners and a nut. Which he lost when I freaked out on the crux of a 5.3 and didn't want to let go and remove it. :oops: but it was my first route ever and I was up 250 ft. above the trail.

patb
Last edited by Patrick B on Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Buckaroo » Sat Mar 13, 2010 4:50 pm

billisfree wrote:I understand, a common item to lose - is a crampon - while glisading down.
My climbing instructor has several of them that he found on the snowfields.

Always make sure to secure them with a strap through any hole
in the metal base.


Better yet anything attached to the outside of the pack strap them in 2 places. Glissading or heavy bushwack snap buckles and the like will come undone.
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Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:16 pm

It really depends on the mountain range, if it is a trade route, if there is a walk off, if there are natural anchors like flakes, horns, or ice for v-threads. I have left literally entire racks of gear getting off of big, remote, rarely climbed routes.
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Postby billisfree » Sat Mar 13, 2010 7:41 pm

Good advice, buckaroo
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Postby BLong » Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:48 am

There are people that live in C4 and spend their days collecting gear from the bottom of Half Dome and El Cap.


Probably not the best idea to use gear that has been dropped hundreds -- or more -- feet. Hairline cracks can become a big deal when taking a fall.
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Postby drjohnso1182 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:00 am

BLong wrote:
There are people that live in C4 and spend their days collecting gear from the bottom of Half Dome and El Cap.


Probably not the best idea to use gear that has been dropped hundreds -- or more -- feet. Hairline cracks can become a big deal when taking a fall.

If you're worried about it, feel free to give it to me.
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Re: How much gear do you leave behind on a mountain?

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:28 am

Bryan Benn wrote:Presumably part of the inevitable cost of climbing?


Me thinks so.

I am a stout environmentalist, but I have left my fair share of gear on the mountain. (Sorry Mountain Gods!!)

Rap slings are common in Yosemite. I got tired of leaving hardware when bailing, so I started rapping off knotted 1-inch slings jammed into cracks.

Pins are easly to lose on big walls. Sometimes in corners you can't keep a cleaner 'biner clipped to them and still pound them in. So you lose a few...

Almost left a few ropes on the mountain when they jammed while pulling them down on rappel. But somehow I always got up the nerve to jug the ropes and fix the problem without getting killed.

We left a huge cache of tents, software and hardware at 16,500 feet on Denali in 1979 when the Koreans got killed. My friend Young and I then spent 10 days going back up the glacier to remove our gear at advance base camp, and we packed out ALL of our garbage. I am proud of that effort.

Autoxfil wrote:There are people that live in C4 and spend their days collecting gear from the bottom of Half Dome and El Cap.


And, unfortunately, there are people who spend their nights jugging fixed ropes on El Cap to retrieve "abandoned gear" hanging at belays at the top of the fixed ropes. This was becoming a big problem in the early 1980s, not sure if it has settled down or continues to be a problem.

Back in the 1970s we used to leave our entire racks hanging from trees in Camp 4 while we spent the day swimming in the Merced. Nothing was ever stolen. By 1982-1985 everything would be stolen if you didn't pack it up during the day.
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Re: How much gear do you leave behind on a mountain?

Postby nattfodd » Sun Mar 14, 2010 5:50 pm

So far, only ever left one nut (a beautiful, almost new DMM offset) which we rapped from when retreating from a winter route in Scotland. I was dreading having to do that, but the decision was surprisingly easy, as the alternative was downclimbing a pitch of steep crappy ice, with an actual liquid waterfall between the rock and the ice...
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Re: How much gear do you leave behind on a mountain?

Postby Brad Marshall » Sun Mar 14, 2010 9:13 pm

Sierra Ledge Rat wrote:We left a huge cache of tents, software and hardware at 16,500 feet on Denali in 1979 when the Koreans got killed. My friend Young and I then spent 10 days going back up the glacier to remove our gear at advance base camp, and we packed out ALL of our garbage. I am proud of that effort.


That is extremely admirable. Well done.
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Postby Mark Straub » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:21 am

I've left plenty of tubular and cord to rap off, that's just part of climbing. I haven't been forced to leave any hardware yet (luckily).

-Mark
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Postby Diggler » Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:39 pm

I still don't know she managed to do this, but saw a girl ice climbing at Lee Vining yesterday who managed to kick off one of her outer boot/crampons. Amazing. Apparently she also managed to let the rope go through her belay device as she was lowering her boyfriend from the climb- after a tumble down the (steep) snow slope below, the guy managed to arrest. Quite the optimist to continue climbing with her for the rest of the day!
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