After some trial and error, not to mention a fair amount of discomfort, here’s a list of some stuff you shouldn’t take climbing…
Canned fish – Yes. I climbed a two day route in the Waddington Range a few years back and my partner decided the lightweight food du jour was canned sardines. I made him eat them all at the bottom of the serious climbing and we suffered the intestinal consequences for two days.
Cell phone – There’s only one thing you can really do with a cell phone for in the mountains and that’s drop and loose it. Of course cell phones have their place. What would the 14k Camp on Denali be like without a whole load of people standing around whining on the phone about how their climbing partners suck?
Blunt ice screws – More fun and games. As if ice climbing wasn’t scary enough. It’s like climbing with drive-ins all over again.
Books about cannibalism – “Alive“, “Mawson’s Will” or any other book involving the eating of ones former friends during a polar epic. After a week tentbound in the Yukon your companions are going to look at you funny anyway.
Ice cream maker – Yeah really… REI will sell your one of these. Super useful on an alpine climb, although this sort of rubbish makes me realize why I see people plodding through the Cascades with enormous 70 pound packs.
Books by Ann Rynd – Once you’ve spent an afternoon in a damp tent listening to your climbing partner rant on about the virtues of selfishness you’ll agree – trust me.
A rack of cams that are all the same size – I experienced this a few years back on a winter route. Hilariously entertaining. Obviously this is fine if you happen to be at Indian Creek but on alpine mixed it’s slightly less helpful.
Chocolate Power Bars or Gu – Or any other food that might be mistaken for excrement. A cannot emphasise how key this piece of advice really is.
30F Bag on a winter route – It seemed like a good idea at the time – save some weight and bulk, “fast and light” and all that. At 3am and 14F the pound and a half you saved might not seem so significant. It’ll still seem like a good idea next time too.
Your girlfriend’s ice tools – They’re nicer than yours. She deserves the best right? But it could end badly. When you realize that you left them at the rap anchors there’s really no debate about who should re-climb the pitch in the dark to get them back. Sure, you have the option of coming back in the morning and taking the risk that some other punter got there first. We both know it’s not worth it.