Tech Tip #45
One of the important lessons you learn mountaineering and big wall climbing is to square your kit away every night: to not leave stuff lying around, where it can be buried or blown away, but clipped off, packed up, or stored in your sleeping bags, inner tent, or porch.
If you arrive at a winter camp spot, and the weather looks good, it’s very easy to be slack, and leave gear lying around: your shovel here, your snow saw there, a set of skis where you stopped and took them off. Do this, and you can guarantee it will dump five foot of snow overnight. No one wants to get up out of their sleeping bag at 3 am and go outside and square it all away then, so do it now.
If you don’t, come morning, you won’t be able to find a thing, a problem not helped by the fact you’ve lost your shovel. A ledge or portaledge bivvy is the same. Everything needs to be secured and sorted, so ropes in rope bags or stuff sacks, the rack sorted and ready for the morning, nuts and cams in order, helmet and shoes secure. Always ask yourself what would be lost if you just turned your portaledge upside down? Even your spoon should have a clip loop. Also make sure your storm gear is within reach, not ten feet down in a haul bag. Before you relax each night, just spent a few minutes walking around, putting stuff into pulks, haul bags, stuff sacks; inside your tent, especially the stuff you’ll need to dig yourself out when the tent is buried.
Anything left outside should be apocalypse proof, secured, clipped in, weighted down, and secured from high winds: rucksacks, helmets, pulks ski poles, shovels. In really bad storms, you need to go one step further, and secure everything inside the tent s well, in case the tent is destroyed in the night, which means stove, fuel, clothing, and especially boots. Everything needs to be secured so that if the worse happens, it’s not as bad as it could be.