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Trip Preperation Posted on 06.11.2010 by greg.kuchyt

The initial stages of packing

Behind every big climbing trip lies tens, no hundreds, of hours of planning; The whole process of choosing a location, choosing a time, planning an agenda, packing, etc. is enough for a climbing team to obsess over for months. Add a couple guide books to the equation…and well…you’re adding fuel to the fire. Receiving a guide book for the climbing area you’re looking to visit is kind of like…Christmas. It’s new, shiny, and you’re super excited when you crack it open for the first time; asking yourself what amazing experiences will this guidebook lead to?

The simple process of thumbing through the guidebook is an experience all unto itself. Like a child peering at the latest and greatest toy, a climber rifles through a guidebook looking for the most classic lines. Looking at topos and photos you wonder how close are the ratings to what you’re used to? Are the ratings in this area going to be hopelessly sand-bagged or delightfully soft?

The unfortunate downside to planning a trip…is planning a trip. Dealing with the logistics of a climbing trip can sometimes be downright disheartening. With more and more people heading to the outdoors it is becoming increasingly necessary for land management agencies to set tighter and tighter regulations on climbing areas, requiring climbing permits or campground reservations. Add on the tasks of finding the cheapest airfare and figuring out travel logistics (rental car, airline baggage policies, etc.) and the excitement of a climbing trip can quickly be eclipsed by the red-tape.

My personal least favorite task is packing, especially when an airline is involved. Airline baggage rules are not climber friendly. Climbing generally involves a lot of gear, so a 50# limit and a 62 linear inch bag size makes for a tight fit for even a short climbing trip. That is, unless you don’t care about paying extra fees for additional bags or overweight/over-sized bags. Can you believe that the over-sized bag fee on a lot of carriers is $100!?!? Regardless of how frustrated you get though, all the animosity melts away the last few days before your trip. Suddenly you’re back to the Christmas time feeling, unable to sleep at night, thinking about the trip. That’s where we are now, so thankfully we are leaving tomorrow, so we can finally stop wondering and start doing.