In my last blog I looked at what goes into my pack for a day in the mountains, which was really a generic day pack type affair that you can read about here. When I’m out running advanced scrambling courses and planning to take a rope, the pack and contents stay much the same, but there’s a few extras that I need to get in there…
Rope, for me it’s going to be a skinny single rope of about 30m long, my preference is for the DMM Crux which handles really nicely and seems to wear quite well for this type of rope. I don’t want a heavy rope as it will spend a fair amount of time in the pack and I don’t need a full 50m of rope as the idea is to keep moving nice and quickly, if I pitch anything I’ll keep the pitches nice and short. Efficiency creates speed when scrambling.
Harness, I’m not going to be carrying a big rack when scrambling so a lightweight sport climbing harness is the order of the day, again it may spend a lot of time in my pack. Currently I tend to grab my DMM Maverick – you can definitely get lighter though, something like the Petzl Altitude weighs a tiny 160g..! It’s always going to be a trade off to some extent, between lightness and toughness and whether you want a specific scrambling harness, or a do it all one.
Helmet, it’s a no brainer to wear a helmet when roped scrambling in my opinion, but again I want a nice light one, I use a Black Diamond Vapor. I have however broken a Vapor before, no exciting tale of an heroic ascent sadly, it fell out of my bag on the walk in to a crag. These are not built to last, but they fit me so much better than any other helmet, so I bought another. Check out the Black Diamond Vector, Petzl Meteor or the odd looking Petzl Scirocco, all lightweight options that may last a little longer. You can get much tougher helmets, but you’re getting the gist by now I’m sure, light is right!
Footwear, notice how I haven’t written boots… For me the perfect scrambling footwear is a decent approach shoe like the Adidas Terrex Solo, mega comfy, light and with sticky Stealth rubber from Five Ten. However if the day is going to be wet or involve some bogs the boots get the nod and my go to scrambling boots on my shelf are the Scarpa Rebel Carbons. These things are flipping ace! I’ve climbed up to HVS in the Alps with these on my feet, they’re so comfy, precise and, wait for it… light! Sadly they’re no longer made 🙁 You can’t go wrong with a pair of Sportiva Trangos though as a great all round mountain boot.
Rack, ask 10 different Mountaineering Instructors what rack they take and you’ll get 10 different answers and it also depends on the route, but this rack would work on pretty much anything for me I reckon…
Nuts, DMM Wallnuts 4-11 on a DMM Phantom
Cams, DMM Dragon 1,2,3,4 on a Phantom each
Slingdraws x 4 (60cm slings, with Phantoms)
Skinny 120cm slings x 3 with a Phantom snapper each
Skinny 240cm sling with a Phantom snapper
Black Diamond ATC guide belay plate with DMM Sentinel screwgate
DMM Boa, DMM Sentinel, DMM Phantom screwgates
DMM Phantom with 2 x prusiks
DMM Phantom with a nut key
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to chuck some hexes in there, but I don’t feel the need, the cams give me more flexibility, but obviously cost lots more. You can definitely thin this lot out a bit, depending on your ability, route and conditions, but this is my typical work rack.
Guidebook, you want to know where to go, lightweight though so maybe take a photo of the appropriate pages on your camera or phone.
There you go! Scrambling is such a fun thing to do, part of the joy is covering ground quickly and efficiently which uses some different techniques to rock climbing.
If you want to attend a course to learn these skills then get in touch!
Three top scrambles to use this kit on:
North Wales, Ogwen link up – Idwal North West Face Route II, Cneifion Arete III, Dolmen Ridge III
Lake District, St Sunday Crag, Pinnacle Ridge III
Scotland, Skye, The Cuillin Ridge III