"Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain... Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall - it's great when you stop."

Chris Darwin

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Multi-pitch efficiency

  • Lead in blocks. Leading in blocks reduces the wait time, as it distributes leading and belaying more evenly (timewise, that is). This is very significant during the winter. It also often means less need to swap gear at belays if the pitch took less than half the rack.
  • Limit the number of belays. On multi-pitch routes very easy way to save loads of time is to build as few belays as possible. Usually this means using the full length of the rope. Naturally this isn't always feasible, but aim to run full rope length before placing the belay. Sometimes simul-climbing or soloing may be called for for the easier sections.
  • Get efficient on belays. By far the easiest way of shaving off time is at the belays. The key here is not so much to do things as fast as possible, it's more important to do the right things and nothing more. Stuff like building a belay so that no fumbling with it is necessary when continuing upwards, handling a rope when bringing up the second so that no recoiling is needed, efficient way of swapping gear, the second starting to clear the belay as soon as the leader is secured (in ice this means the first solid screw is placed) etc. make a lot of difference.
  • Make do with a single pack (if at all possible). Leading with a pack is so not my favorite thing to do, especially if the climbing is anywhere close to my limit. If you can't get by with just one bag, use small leader's pack and large second's pack.

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