The climbing itinerary

Once you've researched your mountain, you can set up an itinerary that makes a good estimate of the number of days to allow for the approach to the peak, for carrying loads up the mountain, for climbing, for sitting out storms and for resting. An average elevation gain of 1,000 feet per day is good for acclimatization, and this figure should be correlated where possible with good campsites. Rest days built into the schedule provide time for mental and physical recuperation, equipment sorting, and such. They can also serve as a time buffer for unplanned delays caused by storms, illness, or other problems. If a storm hits, try to reschedule a rest period for the same time, making the best of a bad day.

For moving camps expedition-style up the mountain, double carries are generally adequate on a three-week climb. The first carry hauls food, supplies and equipment to the site of the next camp. The second carry involves tearing down the current camp and resetting it at the next site. On bigger mountains, camps may need to be stocked pyramid style, with many carries between camps early in the trip and few if any carries between later camps.

When repeated carries are necessary, each load is usually cached at the next camp while the climbers go back down for more. Plan to set up a protected cache to avoid damage from the elements and from animals. Dig a hole, cover it with something an animal can't get through, such as a sled or snowshoes, and pile snow on top. Mark the cache with long wands. But beware. Ravens on popular peaks have learned to identify caches, so place the wands a little distance away and smooth the surface above the cache.

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