The search and rescue (SAR) experts in the National Park Service, with techniques developed over decades of experience, have a technical rescue manual. It's available online as a free PDF download. If you have more than a passing interest in self rescue, this is a good place to take a deep dive.
Every trip, summit or not, is an opportunity to reflect, learn and improve. The best way to do this is with an honest talk / debrief session with your partner(s) ASAP after your climb.
A normal response of your body to adrenaline is to narrow your visual focus. Generally, this is NOT helpful when you’re climbing. Read a short cautionary tale, and some simple things you can do to mitigate this.
Despite access to solid weather forecasts, deciding to continue on a climb or bail is often a challenging and subjective decision. The climbing rangers at Mt. Rainier National Park made a clever decision matrix to help remove some emotion from this important choice.
There are more ways to rack slings than you might think. The traditional “put everything over one shoulder” looks pretty cool for photo ops, but it's probably going to make a royal mess when you want to try to take one off over your neck. Instead, try this - a designated racking sling.
Svelte Dyneema sewn runners may have replaced humble nylon tubular webbing for most of your rack, but it can still be a fine idea to take a tied nylon runner or two with you on an alpine route. Here are a few reasons why they’re handy.
From cleaning up messy rappel anchors to cutting away your partner a la Joe Simpson, carrying a knife for emergency or rescue purposes can be a fine idea. Here are a few options.
There are lots of different options when it comes to headgear. One can even keep you from a coughing attack.
Famed British climber Sir Chris Bonington has an excellent answer for the age-old question of why we do this.
A fairly recent term (okay, recent for me) is to describe a rope system is either “open” or “closed”. If you’ve heard these terms and they left you scratching your noggin, have a look at this post to learn what it means. Hint - closed is good.
If you have a team of three on a moderate climb that still requires a rope, end-roping can be a good strategy that balances speed and relative safety.
“Dang, prusiking up this fixed rope is so much fun!” said no one, ever. Learn a Smarter Way to ascend a rope that is a BIG improvement on the traditional 2 prusik system.
Beginning climbers often hear a confusing mish-mash of different advice and rules. Read this Tip to discern what's a definitive rule, and what’s more personal preference.
When learning any climbing skill where a mistake has potentially lethal consequences, it's good to take a very conservative approach. Here's one step-by-step method.
Airflare is a sophisticated yet easy to use phone app that can potentially help a Search and Rescue team find you much faster. Learn more about it here.
When your rope team is transitioning between glacier travel, pitched climbing and easy terrain, you probably don’t want the rope at full length, especially for the easy parts. Solution: the Kiwi coil.
When buying runners, try keep all your single runners one color, and all your double runners another color. This lets you grab the right one with just a quick glance at your harness.
Are you roped up and ascending an easy but loose, chossy gully? Put in a few cams and clip the rope to lift it away from the loose rocks.
A basic climbing skill is knowing how to rack your cordage In a tidy and fast manner. One great method: Do the Twist. Learn how in this short video from expert climber Beth Rodden.
Here are two simple and quick ways to be sure your team always stays together at night or in low visibility.
Yeah yeah, everyone knows climbers need to hydrate properly to perform well. But do you know the interesting physiology behind actually why this true?
Here’s a few simple ways to shave hours of of your climbing time. Individually, not so much, but taken together, it can save you major time.