Bigwall Multiday Techniques

"Big walls," the saying goes, "are 90 percent big walls are easy. There's no question that proper work and 10 percent fun." Not everyone agrees conditioning is essential for the hauling of heavy with those percentages, but few climbers will say loads and the scaling of multiple aid pitches.

Big walls also call for a high degree of mental composure. Inexperienced wall climbers easily find themselves the victim of heightened fears brought on by prolonged and severe exposure. If you're new to the game, perhaps you can soothe your fears by realizing that techniques for dealing with major walls are much the same as those needed for smaller climbs. Concentrate on the problem at hand and work away at the objective one move at a time.

In preparing for a big wall, guidebooks and other climbers are often helpful sources of information. Beware, however, of overdependence on climbers' topographic maps and equipment lists. Routes do change over time, especially if pins are used regularly.

Solid, efficient aid technique is a prerequisite if a major wall is to be completed within the time constraints dictated by reasonable food and water supplies. For success on the big walls, you must develop competency in hoisting heavy sacks up the route, and you should be able to live comfortably in a vertical world for days at a time.

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