Keeping warm while Tr'ing

Posted by: skcreidc

Keeping warm while Tr'ing - 12/12/13 10:56 AM

Going to Red Rock Canyon with my wife to do some top roping. Projection is for sunny days (yea!), but a low/high of 31/50 deg F (boo!), and an 8mph wind. I'll be looking for spots out of the wind and with a southern exposure. Other than wearing the warm gear and gloves, are there any tips for keeping warm while belaying (in particular) or for warming up hands after each climb. One thought was to bring a thermos of hot stuff to warm the hands and insides. Any other thoughts. Patty is 55 and I'm 57, so staying warm is more critical than it used to be.


Posted by: rockchucker22

Re: Keeping warm while Tr'ing - 12/12/13 11:35 AM

During deer season I always use hot hands chemical hand warmers. They are a real life saver when your hands are cold. Could possibly be handy for you.
Posted by: wandering_daisy

Re: Keeping warm while Tr'ing - 12/16/13 12:19 AM

In the old days, before belay devices, we wore "belay gloves" to keep from getting rope burns. Good leather gloves also keep your hands warm. The gloves have to made of "grippy" material. Hands stay warmer if your body is warmer. I seldom have trouble keeping hand warm as long as my boldy is warm. A beefy down jacket works. You can wear a stocking cap under your helmet. Also, wear warm boots when belaying. Change into climbing shoes only when climbing. This works for top-roping but not for lead climbing. Bring a square of ensolite so you are not sitting directly on cold rock for those belays where you can sit. External warmth is always good too. Hand warmers and thermos both good ideas.

BUT, be willing to call it quits if the belayer gets so cold that he/she cannot do the job. Also, it helps to do shorter climbs so you can switch from belaying to climbing more often. One reason I really like Joshua Tree for winter climbing is that there are hundreds of shorter climbs.

There is an old saying - climbers have two time clocks - the climber's clock and the belayer's clock. Particularly when lead climbing, time flies. Each minute drags on and on for the poor belayer.

Posted by: skcreidc

Re: Keeping warm while Tr'ing - 12/20/13 01:08 PM

Thanks to both of you for the ideas. It ended up being a touch warmer and less wind in Red Rocks. If you were in the sun it felt great; in the shadows it was cold...cold enough for me to feel it through my boots. WD, thanks for all the insights; they all make sense to me. The ensolite pad(s) are now part of my gear set!

Patty (and I) came out of this fired up to come back and do some more outside climbing. So I am very happy with how things worked out. Patty even got herself up a couple of 10a face climbs....exhausted, but smiling afterwards. I also got in a short/super easy single pitch sport climb so's I could build an anchor, then belay the next up. Red Rocks is just a beautiful area to hang out at...definitely worth a visit climbing or not.