Imagine…

Trekking up the hills or through the forest with the bounties of nature surrounding you, setting up a campsite and lying down on the fresh green grass to admire stars spread across the rich blue sky.

Sounds magical, doesn’t it?
This is the pleasure of overnight camping. It will leave you with everlasting memories and a rejuvenated mind. However, this pleasure comes only after putting in the time to plan ahead, organise gear and pack the essentials.
To make your packing easier and camping experience more memorable, here is a list of 12 essentials that should go into your backpack.

1. Knife

The other item that goes hand in hand with a map is your knife. A good folding knife can be used for much more than cutting – it has endless uses! You can use it to open your food, as a tool or even to cut clothes for bandaging.

2. Headlamp & Batteries

Don’t forget you may need to see in the dark. Pack a headlamp and remember to drop in extra batteries. A good headlamp gives you hands-free light to build a campfire, cook your dinner, or find your way if you begin before sunrise.

3. Garbage Bags

One or two sturdy garbage bags are invaluable on a camping trip. Pack your clothes in one for extra protection from the weather. Just cut a hole in it and voila! You have a temporary hood to cover your head in case of rain. And don’t forget to leave no trace – bring all of your rubbish out with you.

4. Personal Essentials

These include insect repellents, sunscreen, toothbrush and other toiletries. Don’t allow any insect the chance to spoil your night under the stars. The day can seem innocuous but the sun is ever present. Be equipped with a good quality sun screen.

5. Ground matt

Though you have a tent to cover your head, a ground mat will help you get a better night’s sleep. Spread this light weight mat for a barrier which improves comfort, adds warmth, and protection from damp ground.

6. Camping Gear & Repair Kit

Bring out the compact packer in you and put together a lightweight tent and sleeping bag into your backpack. Grab the poles and stakes and also a repair kit which might come in handy anytime.

7. Cooking Essentials

Campfire meals are part of the great experience! Pack a compact cooking kit, including a camping stove, lighter, fuel, pans and utensils. Avoid bulky utensils and share the weight among your group.

8. Water & Food

A thirsty man is a tired man – always carry plenty of water in your backpack. Bring enough to drink before you feel thirsty. Energy bars and/or protein bars need to be ticked off your check list as they are instant energy providers. Dehydrated meals are light and easily prepared at camp.

9. Warm Clothes

Temperatures in the night may drop, so be prepared. Select light clothes that you can wear in layers to keep you snug and comfortable. Always carry gloves and an extra pair of socks.

10. First Aid Kit

Nature trails can be rocky, paths can be slippery and thorns may be in the most unexpected of places. Carry a compact first aid kit in case of any injuries.

 

Going for a camping trip?

Enjoy camping? Ready to get backpacking?  We will be using tents on our New Zealand treks thru the South Island! The first thing to do is to buy a tent. Getting  a suitable tent can be a fun task if you know what to look for. Let us help you get started!

Money Matters

Buy a tent based on your budget. Your tent is an investment, but that doesn’t mean you need to spend lavishly on them. Like all investments, do some research and shop within your budget,

How Light can you Go?

Travelling light sounds sexy and cool. If you are doing multi-day hikes, every gram saved will be felt. If you have a vehicle (or a pack mule), you might find weight less of a consideration as opposed to size or price. Buy a tent keeping in mind the kind of trip you’re planning for.

Next comes the Size

How much space do you need?  How many people will be on your trip? Will there be any items to store inside? As a general rule get a tent that accommodates one more than your group size. If you are a 2-person team, buy a 3-person tent. This will give you more space to move around.  A 2-person tent might just fit 2 people side by side but not much room for packs or boots.

Seasoned Tent

Think about the season you will be hiking and pick according to the weather conditions. There are four types:  2-season, 3-season, 3-4-season, 4-season tents.

A 2-season tent is generally used  in fair  weather conditions and cannot withstand even the slightest of the winds. However, a 3-season tent is much more durable, and better suited where you expect  rain and wind.

3-4 season tents are much stronger than their predecessor and have been tested underextreme weather conditions.

The 4-season tent is the all rounder. It can be used in any time of the year and is suited for any weather condition.

Tent Features

Finally, the frills. Choose a tent with aluminium poles-you might come across many fiberglasss poles, tempting you with its low cost and light weight. But, remember, glass is breakable. .

You need a cover to protect yourself from the rain and so does your tent. Opt for a tent with a rainfly. They are waterproof and should be large enough such that they fall over the sides of the tent.

Ensure that your tent has a floor made of waterproof material to be more comfortable on damp or wet ground.. You should also pay attention to the seams. A well-seamed tent protects you against the elements that much better.

A quality tent provides protection from the elements and insects, is easily stored in your pack, and should last for years to come. Invest wisely and have fun!

If you want to try camping in unique hidden places, join our trek in Taiwan, where we camp on the ridge!

A first aid kit is your best friend when you travel. No one can predict when an incident will happen. Oftentimes, a first aid kit is all that is needed to make things right.

Research indicates that a first aid kit is one of the essential items for outdoor travel. How many of us know what really goes into a first aid kit and what each item is used for?

You can find numerous kits in any adventure store but if you’re looking to optimize your kit, Here’s  a list you a list of 10 essential items that should go into your outdoor first aid kit.

  1. Adhesive Bandages

Travelling can result in cuts and bruises, which when left unattended can lead to infections. Adhesive bandages come in an assortment of shapes and sizes to cover these cuts and bruises. They are effective in closing the wound and weigh next to nothing. We recommend bringing various sizes.

  1. Tweezers

They are an important tool of any first aid kit. A pair of tweezers  can be used to remove foreign particles stuck in the skin, which includes thorns, splinters, debris, etc,.

  1. Antiseptic Creams

Treating an injury will be effective only if the area of the injury is clean with no dirt and germs. It is of utmost importance that before putting on a bandage that you clean the wound thoroughly. Apply  antiseptic cream to clean the wound before treating  the injury .

  1. Sterile Gauze Pads and Tape

In case of large wounds, gauze pads are essential to absorb fluids. First, clean the wound, dry it out, then apply the antiseptic cream, cover the wound with the gauze padding and secure it with tape.

  1. Pain Relievers

Headache and backache can be annoying on the trail but we don’t need to  let that affect our  trip. Pop some pain relievers such as Aspirin or Ibuprofen into your first aid kit and you are all set.

  1. Medical Gloves

Safety and cleanliness are most important when it comes to travelling. Be sure to pack disposable medical gloves in your kit as they are a shield against infection when administering first aid.

  1. Nail Clippers

In an outdoor environment, sand, soil and mud can trap bacteria, which hooks easily under your nails. Cutting nails might seem like very far-fetched for travel but ingrown nails or hanging nails can feel unpleasant, especially on a hike. Be sure to keep your nails short and clean and pack a nail clipper for the road.

  1. Muscle Sprays or Rubs

Travelling or trekking can sometimes cause abit of strain, especially when you are not used to carrying a load or walking long hours. A bottle of  muscle spray or salve in your first aid kit can provide  you instant relief and make you more comfortable.

  1. Thermometer

Fevers may occur during travel as the weather can be unpredictable and our body may not be accustomed to such sudden changes in the atmosphere. Thermometers can be found in any first aid kit along with few pills of Crocin to relieve fever.

  1. First Aid Manual

Your customised first aid kit will be incomplete without a first aid manual. The manual will include directions on how to treat wounds, sprains, cramps and other common ailments. The manual should be studied by everyone who has access to the kit and get to know the basics of administering first aid.

11. Sewing Needles

In the event that you get a blister, it is best to drain it and let it dry (if possible).   A sewing needle, cleaned with alcohol, is the best way to drain a blister. If possible drain in the evening and place your foot in the open air if possible. Bandage in the morning before putting your socks on.

Join us for our Taiwan Adventure, where we not only do the trek, but go thru pre trekking briefings and discuss the gear list in full detail.

Departing from Xinda hut at 7am, we hit the trail with some beautiful weather. Dabajianshan and Xiaoba stood to our right, the sheer mountain faces jutting straight up. To the left the snow covered face of Xueshan loomed and straight ahead lies Pintian Mountain.

Pintian Mountain itself is not noted for being a hard climb. At 3,524 meters, the way up is not technical, but a safe descent of the 60-meter dropoff would make for an interesting day. We indulged at the summit, taking in the 360 degree panorama.

Pintian Mountain

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Abseiling the Pintian Cliffs

The Pintian cliffs are two, 20-meter pitches, one 10-meter pitch and another 8  meter pitch. Some people choose to climb down these rock faces, but with the amount of loose rock, unstable hand holds and snow and ice patches still around at this time of year, abseiling was long decided as the safer choice. Pulling on our knowledge from the abseil courses we teach, setting up the anchors and prepping for an abseil was a breeze. With additional carabineers, attaching the pack to the descender got the backpacks down quick and safe with all the weight on the rope, allowing for a smooth abseil.

In the end, we used a combination of everything. Sometimes wearing our backpacks, sometimes lowering them, sometimes having them locked into our descenders as dead weight to the rope, we descended via four multi pitch abseils with rope pull downs. Setting up, lowering packs, abseiling, pulling down the rope, walking 5 meters, setting up and repeating the process was exhilarating, time-consuming, and humbling.

Coming Down Safely

With the Pintian cliffs behind us and on the ridge between Pintian and Sumida Hut, we felt good, though tired and a little concerned about time. . We summited Buxiulan Mountain and moved towards Sumida Mountain and Sumida Cliffs – which turned into a bigger challenge than the Pintian cliffs. The weight of our packs pressed ever harder as the hours ticked by.

The Backside

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With the fast approaching sunset at 6:30pm, we took an opportune stop at a soft tree-filled plateau and pulled out the map for a quick huddle. To press on in the dark with unknown obstacles ahead or to risk a night in the open in hopes that the weather forecast (clear) holds up. Tapping on the experience of previous Shei-Pa hikes, a quick run-through of gear, fuel, and water source, the decision was made to camp on the ridge.

With a nice flat bed of moss and pine needles, a huge pile of mountain snow that would be our water, we had found our oasis, our spot for the night. What we thought was going to be an uncomfortable night turned out to be one of the highlights of  the trip. With a clear night out, falling asleep under the stars and waking up from time to time and finding myself under the brightest dome city lights can never equal was a humbling experience.

Under the Stars

Sharing it with my team members was rewarding beyond compare. The combination of a new moon, and beautiful weather made for the best night one could ask for. At over 3500 meters, there was no humidity to get our equipment and sleeping bags wet. This night was probably the best night’s sleep I got on the entire trip. It proved to be much needed as day 3 would challenge us in many different ways.

This write up is part of the 5 day trek of the  Holy Ridge (Shengleng trail) trek. Join our next trip to share the adventure! We also summit Pintian mountain with our trek to one of Taiwan’s iconic mountain, Dabajian. Check our Twin Peaks Traverse trek as well!.

The Team

As we prepare for our upcoming trip for multipitch climbing, it’s a good time to quickly review the type of gear we will be using. This post also gives you an Idea of what is needed for the local climbiong gym as well. This serves as a guide for what you need to start climbing, whether it’s indoor bouldering or your first climbing wall lead.

If you’re new to climbing then knowing what you’ll need to get started and progress can be a little daunting. We’ve put together some basic beginner climbing equipment lists to help you out a bit. Beginner Indoor Climbing Equipment covers everything you’ll need to get you climbing at you local bouldering or climbing wall.

Please remember, as with all the articles, tips and videos on this website, none of the systems, suggestions or practices should be used without proper training and experience. Climbing can be a dangerous sport and all climbers must take responsibility for themselves.

Happy Climbing!

Indoor Climbing

Bouldering
  • Climbing Shoes
  • Chalk Bag
  • Chalk
  • Do make sure the shoes are tight. Usually 1/2 size smaller than your normal shoe size
 Top Rope
  • *A suitable locking belay carabiner. Either an HMS, Oval or belay specific.
 Lead
  • *A suitable locking belay carabiner. Either an HMS, Oval or belay specific.
  • **30m is usually sufficient, but check with the wall to make sure before you buy
  • ***This is usually optional as most climbing walls have fully equipped lead routes with quickdraws in place. However a few do have routes that are just bolted meaning you’ll need your own quickdraws to climb them . This is a great way of preparing yourself for outdoor sport routes. Eight to ten is generally more than enough, but check with the wall before you buy.

Taiwan is an amazing island that offers both the mountains and the beaches within a couple hours drive of each other.  With three large national parks, Sheipa, Tarako, and Yushan National park, we are constantly exploring new and exciting destinations for trekking through these beautiful ranges. This write up will be focusing on one of the four challenges of Taiwan, the Qilai East Ridge Trek.

Located in the Tarako National Park, this trek stems from the Central range to the awe inspiring Qilai mountain. The journey will take you through bamboo forests and mountain fields, touching the corner of Mount Tarako, and finishing up in the world famous Tarako Gorge.

Normally this trek starts near Wuling Pass in the central Mountain range.  First, making your way to the top of Mount Qilai North Ridge (3607 meter) and then working your way down to the Tarako gorge over 5 days to an altitude of about 800 meters.

When we decided to undertake this beautiful trek, construction was to begin on the bridge across the tarako gorge and we were required to do the trek in the opposite direction.  This made the challenge just a bit more interesting.

The start of the trek was extremely humid and the water sources were spread out with quite some distance between each water point.  As the trek continued on, we found that the trail markers were placed so that they would be very visible coming from the other direction. This really gave us an opportunity to hone our map reading and compass skills.

The trail itself was an amazing combination of bamboo forests and dense overgrowth. This was followed by reaching the sub alpine line of beautiful pine trees, and to finally being above the tree-line. We had a chance to experience a bit of everything.  You must be prepared to sleep in a tent the entire time. With the exception of a workers hut, and the Qilai hut, it’s all campsites.  And there were some pretty amazing campsites along the way.

Water was another factor we had to be mindful for.  There was only one to two sources of water we would cross each day.  We would carry about 7 liters of water between the two of us.  With our dehydrated meals, water was a key to both drinking and eating. Not all water points were from an absolute clean water source.  Using a sterilizing pen, as well as water purification tablets is the precaution we took for this environment. Doing this trek in November, we had amazing weather but as we got higher into the mountains, the weather did become quite cold.  One night spent on the ridge saw ice droplets around us in the morning.

We were completely alone and in solitude for the first 5 days.  Day number six we had some amazing visitors.  Deer that were completely unafraid, came and visited our campsite in the evening.

On Day 7 we finally emerged on the top of Qilai North Peak, and being a popular peak, there were quite a few trekkers on top giving us a curious look as to where we just came from. It is not common to do the Qilai East ridge trek in the opposite direction.  The trekkers were extremely friendly and even gave us a ride all the way to Taichung, where we enjoyed a nice hot shower and a great Taiwanese meal, with bubble tea as the dessert!

This trek is a great all around experience for trekking in Taiwan.  A similar trek would be our “Twin Peaks, Dapa to Pintian mountain” trek. Also the “Sheipa Mountain Holy ridge” trek is a great introduction to mountaineering as the use of ropes and other technical equipment is involved. Check out our other blogs on our intro to mountaineering equipment as well as the other adventures that we love to take you on! Have any other questions?  Contact us now!

Happy Trekking!

“A road less travelled” A statement often overused, but in this case under-describes the road between Langhar and Murghab, Tajikistan.  Also known as the Afghan corridor or Wahkhan Valley corridor, the lonely stretch of road was once travelled by large caravans from Europe and Persia that wanted to reach the Far East,to buy and sell their goods. I guess this stretch of road is most commonly known as part of the the Silk Road.

A journey to the mountainous Lenin Peak (7134m) brought us to Kyrgyzstan and the lure of adventure on this lonely highway brought us to Tajikistan. The Pamir Highway is officially considered from the city of Dushanbe, in Tajikistan to the city of Osh, Kyrgyzstan.  Most of this road has small villages and towns along the way, but the section from Langhar and Murghab, is extremely desolate with the exception of a few ranchers during the summer season.  I found myself spending 3 days exploring just this piece of the highway.

With a 4×4 vehicle, plenty of food, water, and camping gear, we set out to take a step back in time and see what the travelers of the caravans saw, some 500 years ago. I was warned that if I had car trouble, do not expect to see another car for two or three days at least. It wasn’t quite that desolate, we did see at least one car of locals each day. But the conditions of the road did give us our share of challenges.

The road itself goes thru several high-mountain passes and we were camping at around 4300 meters each night. Having just finished our Lenin Peak attempt, we felt acclimatized for our day walks we took, but the surprise was the temperature in the evenings.  Dropping down to well below 0 degrees Celsius at night, we chose to sleep in the back of the SUV.  The sleeping bags were more than warm enough and the early morning Sun gave a pleasant warm up before climbing out of the car.

Each day, it felt as if we were visiting different worlds.  First the beautiful greenery of Earth, then the barren landscape of the Moon, and moving on to the red sand mountains that resembled Mars. It was truly remarkable.

The high mountain lakes with it’s glacier water and mineral deposits reflected a blue so deep, that it couldn’t be captured in photos. The reflections of the mountains in the water was as clear as highest quality mirror that money could buy.  Each remarkable landscape that we passed, we tried to photo but the photo just didn’t capture the beautiful realities of the surrounding.

The Fortresses of the different khans during the period still stood in it’s weakened form.  But one could imagine life in these mountains behind these walls.  The petroglyphs inscribed on the rock, tell of stories of Marco Polo Sheep and the Ibex that populate the area.

Though we spent only 3 days in this section, it truly felt like time travel, stepping back to another time.  This is a time travelers dream.  Interested in experiencing the Pamir Highway? Contact us at info@wildfirexpeditions.com and we can make it happen. The road less travelled is waiting for you…

Back by popular demand, we had another awesome rock climbing fun day out with our participants at Dairy Farm! Here’s some highlights from our day out together!

It is great to be outdoors!

Time to work out those muscles!

Cheers to our instructors who worked so hard, and making sure everyone is safe and have lots of fun!

Let’s start with a proper group photo first…

And now, the fun one! Ready – 1, 2, 3 JUMP!

Looking for a fun and unique way to spend your weekend outdoors? Join us for our next Introductory Dairy Farm rock climbing and abseiling session! No climbing experience required.

Send a message today at info@wildfirexpeditions.com or Whatsapp +65-8298-2292

In mid-May this year, Maybel, Edwin and Ben joined us for a 2 days rock climbing trip in Lopburi, Thailand. Despite being their first outdoor climbing experience (and kudos to Edwin and Ben as this was their first time rock climbing), they were extraordinary in their climbing, and they readily took on the challenges that we posed to them, including the attempt to conquer a 30m route. Interested?  You can join our next trip in June or contact us for special dates!

This is what we are here for! The majestic peak of Khao Jin Lae.

First Challenge: The Bouldering and Traversing Challenge.

The Victorious Moment. What a View from the Top!

Work Hard, Play Hard! Time for some sight-seeing and delicious Thai cuisine in Lopburi…

Action-packed moments!

The beautiful sunset in Lopburi.

Looking for a different kind of weekend getaway? Explore this beautiful town of Lopburi which is a few hours away from Bangkok, visit one of the biggest sunflower fields in Thailand, and see what adventures this part of Thailand has to offer! It is definitely worth a visit to get away from the bustle of city life!

We customise our trips based on the comfort level of our participants, making it beginner-friendly. We also offer multi-pitch experiential climbs in Lopburi for those who wish to conquer this 206m peak. 

Click on the link below for the trip reviews from our participants:

https://www.tripadvisor.com.sg/Attraction_Review-g294265-d14759637-Reviews-Wildfire_Expeditions-Singapore.html

Join us for our next trip coming your way soon!

Moving quickly and efficiently whilst multi-pitch climbing is a real art, and will greatly improve your experience. Here are some great techniques and tips  on how to hone your skills, and get more out of your day.

Bad stance management and lack of planning can lead to all manner of problems, and the longer the route, the more serious this becomes.

Prior planning and preparation prevents particularly poor performance.

Research your routes

Plan your routes thoroughly before you leave, including descents and alternatives if your chosen route is busy. Having a good understanding of a route before you go will mean that you can also have a good idea of the type of rack you’ll need. If it’s a lot of crack climbing or lower grade stuff, then you can leave the micros at home. If it’s a face or slab, then you may not need any large cams, and if it’s polished limestone, then swap your cams for hexes. The route description will really help you make some of these decisions.

Photocopy (and laminate) the relevant guidebook pages and maybe leave the guide book behind or put it in the second’s pack. Make at least two copies in case you lose one. Making notes on the back of the photocopy on descent, gear, and important beta like belays and tricky route-finding can save you lots of time. If you know someone who’s done the route before, then have a chat with them before you leave.

Why take 500 pages when you only need two? You’re more likely to get out a piece of paper and check the route than a whole guide book, and it’s a lot easier to do this when you’re halfway through a pitch. Attaching it to a bit of cord will mean you won’t drop it. You and your second can easily access it and ensure you don’t waste time going off route. It will also save you time at the bottom of the route, and means you don’t waste time pouring through the guide book.

Pack right

Organise and pack your kit the day before, not in the car park or at the bottom of the route. Time spent sorting out your gear and changing clothes is time spent not climbing, and if you leave it till the last minute, you’re much more likely to have forgotten something vital.

Pack your kit so that when you arrive at the crag your helmet comes out first and goes straight on your head, followed by your harness. Then the ropes for your second to flake while you gear up.

When you’re packing your gear, think about how you like to rack it. Maybe clip all your quickdraws together, so when you pull them out they can go straight on your harness and not in a mess on the floor. Clip nuts and cams together in separate bunches, and arrange your slings so they are ready to go with karabiners already on them. Another option is to group your gear together according to the gear loop it’s going to go on, so when you pull it out it goes straight on the relevant loop. It’s not about rushing, but about a minimum of faff.

If you’re going to be carrying rucksacks up the climb, it can be useful to have one that will fit inside the other, enabling the leader to climb without a pack.

Warm up your body and mind

If it’s a short walk in to the crag then warming up can be tricky. If you’re driving to the venue then keep the car warm or wear a belay jacket to keep your body temperature up. I usually wiggle my toes, fingers, wrists and ankles to get them loose and lubricated. When walking in start mobilising the bigger joints – the aim is to mobilise and loosen up but not stretch. If it’s a longer walk in then use the time to discuss the route and get warm.

It’s also a good idea to get your climbing head on during this time. Put aside other thoughts or stresses and start thinking about the route description and the types of moves that might be needed (lay backs, jamming etc). Try and remember (positive) experiences on similar rock and grades. So much about climbing is psychological, and taking time to focus properly will mean you begin the climb in the right frame of mind.

Beginners Rock Climbing Thailand
Multipitch Rock Climbing Thailand

Get on with it

It’s amazing how fast the time can go when you’re at the bottom of a route, but if you’ve prepared properly before you get there, then it should really only be a few minutes before you’re climbing.

Whilst the leader sorts the gear, the second flakes the ropes and sorts their personal gear and packs or stashes the rucksacks away. Once you’ve both tied on and checked each other, have a quick reminder of climbing calls or rope pulls to make sure that you’re on the same page, and then the leader puts on (pre-cleaned) rock boots, opens up chalk bag and heads up.

The second will often keep approach footwear on but may loosen off the laces and have rock boots laid out ready or if cold keep ’em stuffed in their jacket to warm them up. Once leader shouts ‘safe’ the second needs to be in their boots and totally ready to climb by the time the rope is pulled tight so that when the leader calls ‘climb when ready’, you are!

Beginning your route with this level of efficiency will put you in a great position to maintain it for the rest of the climb.

The big one – stance management

A lot of time is wasted at belays and on multi-pitch climbs and that time can add up quickly. This system doesn’t require you to move any faster but will allow you to leave the belay and continue climbing more efficiently.

Make sure you both know how you like to rack your gear on your harnesses (have a system, even if you adapt it for different routes). This can be talked through on the walk in or the day before. Doing this will mean that at belays you can both be doing something to enable the leader to get going again asap.

TIP: Use different coloured tape to colour coordinate the nuts on their racking karabiner.  For example small nuts are marked with red tape as is the karabiner they’re racked on, medium nuts with blue tape etc.  This enables the second to very easily re-rack the leader without having to constantly ask where things go or handing them to the leader to sort.  The leader should be sorting the ropes while the second re-stocks the leader’s harness. If the second hands it to the leader or clips it to the belay then the act of re-racking involves more movements and actions than is necessary.

 

Climbing in Singapore
Arapilies, Australia

Here’s what normally happens

The second arrives at the belay, clips themselves into it, and then takes the cleaned kit (usually in a mess) from their harness and hands it to the leader who then has to sort it, leaving the second with nothing to do. Or the second takes the kit and clips it to the belay, and then the leader unclips it from the belay and racks it on their harness. Two people doing one job. Then, if you’re leading in blocks (same leader for the whole route) the ropes need back-flaking. Once flaked and the leader on belay, only then can the climbing resume.

Taiwan Tours
Nice Anchor for Belaying from Above

What if we did this instead?

As the second climbs the pitch they strip and sort the gear and rack it neatly on their harness in a way that will enable them to re-rack the leader’s harness. I put all wires onto one krab, re-sling sling draws (60cm slings tripled up), cams on one side or on one part of my harness. If using the Yosemite racking technique (see Tip: Yosemite racking) then, as a second I can rack the quickdraws in the Yosemite way ready to put straight onto the leader’s harness – in one movement three or four quickdraws can be transferred from the second’s harness to the leader’s. Any cams or large nuts with extendable slings should be shortened in readiness. I rack all of my cams on individual krabs and if I need to extend the cam with a quickdraw, I’ll leave the krab on the cam to make stripping and sorting easier.

Upon reaching the belay the traditional roles can be reversed somewhat because the second knows how the leader racks their kit. Because they have organised the stripped kit onto their harness, the second is in the best position to remove it and re-rack the leader. The leader back-flakes and sorts the ropes – why? Because they’re the ones who have spent the last five, ten, fifteen minutes coiling or stacking it at the belay! So surely they know best how to back flake it (and can’t blame anyone but themselves if there’s a tangle!).

The system above is based on the same leader, leading for the whole route, but even if you’re leading in relay (swinging leads) the system doesn’t really change that much. There should be no need to re-flake the rope, but instead of doing this the new second (already at the belay), can rack the new leader with the kit that wasn’t used. While the new leader can be looking at the route description for the next pitch. If the second is to lead the next pitch then they should be stripping and sorting the gear from the route onto their harness ready for their lead as they climb.

This system involves less actions/movements and gives defined roles to each person depending on who’s best placed to carry them out. Basically, the second deals with the gear, the leader deals with the ropes. If one finishes their job first, then they can help the other (this system obviously assumes a fair amount of competence on the part of the second).

These are techniques that we teach and practice during our climbing trips to Lopburi Thailand.  A beautiful multipitch climb with 6 pitches to work thru to become efficient.  Join us for our climb clinics and become more efficient at multipitch and overall climbing!