The Three Person Alpine Team
Additionally, the ropes, rack, stove kit, and tent are shared among three climbers, easing the load for everyone. John Varco told me his three person team used a two person Mountain Hardwear EV-2 tent on Annapurna III. One climber slept in the middle, feet in the vestibule. Using leader and follower packs takes even more of the load off of the leader and makes great sense for three person teams, as the group gear is split between the two followers.
Safety. An extra body if someone gets hurt increases everyone’s chance of survival. Three person teams can also foster a team dynamic that foments harmony as well as having a third brain when it comes time to make difficult decisions. It's also the case that each climber has to lead fewer cruxes. This can bring the size of big climbs down a little bit.
Lead in blocks of four to six pitches. Swinging leads takes too much time as ropes have to be untied, retied, and restacked, and leader and follower packs need to be swapped.
If only short technical sections are expected, a single 60 meter or longer half rope can be doubled, making for an even lighter kit. The leader ties into the middle of the rope and the followers tie into each separate strand.
Establish a solid, equalized anchor above the belayer, and attach the belay device to the power point. Situating the belayer below the anchor will make rope management easier. A belay device with auto locking capabilities is a must. The Petzl Reverso and Black Diamond ATC Guide or similar belay devices are good choices, as well as being good for rappelling and belaying the leader. The auto locking feature allows two followers to be simultaneously belayed independently. Use a thick, round stock locking carabiner that the ropes run over. Petzl Attache is a good choice. This makes the ropes easier to pull and saves effort.