Mountaineering gear

In this textbook we distinguish the term gear and accessories. Therefore it is important to explain why it is so, and how to understand these terms. As gear are described such objects, which directly serve to advance towards the objective. In mountaineering it means that they in some way help to overcome gravity, provide belay and protection against fall or impact, and apart from these activities we have no use for them in everyday life. On the other hand accessories are primarily used to achieve a certain comfort; it can be used for activities no related with mountaineering, even though it would not be ideal. The best example is belay devices and footwear. Belay device scarcely find employment outside mountaineering or rope techniques (without taking into account that it can be used as a paperweight on someone’s desk), while winter boots can be worn during the winter even in the city. Although we might not be able to walk comfortably on even pavement, wearing such a boots in the city is possible. In other words, gear is something special, added above the scope of normal life, that has use only in this sport, it is used for progress or for protection, in short, to perform a sport activity. Accessories, on the other hand, has parallels in the things used in real life to enhance comfort, even if the design of these things is adapted for the purpose of mountaineering, so they can function better in mountaineering environment.

Mountaineering gear is not a static set of objects and not always do we need the same gear. It’s not like in the case of hockey players, who for every game need the same things that they have always packed in one bag and they will carry the same bag to every game. Mountaineering has many disciplines and each of the disciplines need slightly different equipment. Also, a chosen technique of progress determines what gear we’ll specifically need. Therefore, climber usually owns many items of gear and before each event must decide what will be needed. Since there is always an effort to lower the weight as much as possible, there are situations, where the need for each individual carabiner is evaluated. Each event demands a little different gear, so each event is somewhat original. These differences in used gear may easily lead to the fact that you will forget to take some of the things you will need. Therefore it is good to prepare several lists of the necessary things for the basic types of events that we normally do (which is individual, each person likes different disciplines), and then, after you pack your backpack before the event, check the prepared list and make sure, that the things we did not pack in the backpack for the event we did not pack intentionally and that we know those items will not be needed. At the beginning this approach will help us to have everything we’ll need and not to take absolutely useless items. Over the time you’ll get more experience and will be able to pack for most common events out of memory. But even after years of practice even experienced mountaineers use often their lists of required equipment, which they tuned for years, for events that they don’t do every week.

Mountaineering gear requires maintenance and inspection. Our life often depends on it, so its perfect functionality must be supervised and verified. Also, gear will not last forever and after a certain time must be replaced. Watch manufacturer’s or distributor’s leaflets, where you can find the lifespan of these items is and manufacturer recommendations for its discarding. Follow these instructions. It is not recommended to purchase a second hand gear.

There is a custom that certain items of gear are not to be borrowed out of the sight of its owner, because he/she always needs to know what was done with it. These typically include rope, diaper sling, loop by which we create a combined harness (if you prefer such a method of tying), etc. As you can see, these are items made of artificial fibres, where we are not always able to identify potential damage (typically done by chemicals), and at the same time they are narrow yet critically stressed items, often without backup. Such things just can’t be borrowed.

And important warning at the end. Mountaineering gear must comply with applicable standards for personal protective equipment, which we identify by the CE mark on the product, accompanied by a number of the test laboratory which carried out the necessary supervision.

This content is preview from e-book.

Title Part 2Mountaineering Methodology – Part 2 – Gear and Accessories

ISBN 978-80-87715-08-6

MMPublishing, 2013

Available for download from Apple iTunes (in the Books section).

For example U.S. store – link

Another countries – look on the page Download

See layout.

Another possibility is Google Play. This version is a simplified (as PDF).

Title Part 2 GPMountaineering Methodology – Part 2 – Gear and Accessories

ISBN 978-80-87715-13-0

MMPublishing, 2014

Available for download from Google Play.