Good morning SP, I thought I would start a discussion here after coming across a sketchy piece of "beta" in one of my climbing guides.
If you are in the PAC NW, you are most likely familiar with Fred Beckey and his "Cascade Alpine Guide" series of books. Although there are still some significant errors (even in the 3rd Ed.), these are generally great guides, and they have been one of my driving inspirations in getting into mountaineering. Beckey generally gives cautious and sound advice for how to deal with approach problems and such. I love these books, but I just came across something I thought was a rather bad piece of advice.
"Some parties drop their packs on the traverse of Sentinel's W slope, then make the climb before continuing."
I think this is a terrible idea. Especially in high alpine areas like the one in question, weather can change instantly and dramatically, leaving you possibly hours away from your source of shelter. Not only that, but if you become seriously injured away from your pack, what will you do? If you fall down an opposing aspect slope away from your pack, what then? If you get off-route and cliffed out trying to get back to your pack, what then? Personally, I will never leave my pack out of my line of sight, and even then there are places where I absolutely refuse to take it off. My logic goes like this; if I'm gonna risk falling, I'm probably going to need the things inside my pack, so it's coming with me no matter what.
What do you think of 'dropping your pack' to save weight on a route? The poll allows re-voting if you change your mind
For those who are OK with this practice, what factors contribute to your decision to leave your pack? And why do you do it? Granted, Beckey was talking about parties who are mostly on a weeklong traverse; would this affect your likelihood of leaving it behind? What about technical (protected) vs. non-technical climbing? I'm going to assume that the main reason would be to avoid carrying extra weight if you are going to be retracing your steps, but I just can't see it from any angle where this would outweigh the risks involved in the practice. About the only
acceptable way in my opinion would be with a very good GPS unit, marking the packs location and the exact
route you need to take to get back to them.