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Five Things to Pack for Spring Crag Climbing

Gaby James spring climbing in Squamish

Spring is here in Canada and it’s time dig out your crag pack and fill it up with jackets, gear and food.

Whether you’re heading out for a few hours or for the day, there are a few essentials that you should never leave home without.

These items are sure to make the spring crag session a happier experience.

Pack a Tarp

The best way to help your rope have a longer life is to keep it clean. You should always use a rope bag, but in the spring you should pack a tarp.

Tarps are great because you can unload your all of your gear, sit to change footwear and keep your rope from mud and dirt.

We recommended any tarp, but MEC sells a good low cost one called the Roll Up Rope Tarp.

Ready to Strike 5.10a and rope tarps for Skaha Photo Bryan Schellenberg

Wrench

While bolts can last a long time in the rock, the nuts that hold the hanger tight to the wall can loosen.

If you’re going to be heading to the crag, bring an adjustable wrench. While most bolts are 3/8″, you never know what you might run into.

Also, if you don’t have a wrench and find a loose nut, the slot on an ATC is sized to tighten them.

It doesn’t hurt to keep a few extra hangers and nuts in your pack in case you come across a hanger-less bolt. Some protection-nut tools have slots sized for bolt nuts.

Layers

There are a lot of factors that can affect the temperature at a crag, from aspect to tree coverage.

You’re going to want to bring lots of layers, including something light to climb in, something thicker to climb in, a belay jacket or hoodie and a rain shell.

It might be worth bringing a toque and mitts, maybe even camp booties because you never know when that late winter chill will drop in.

Lots of Gear

It’s early season and you’re not as conditioned as you were at the end of last rock season.

So if you’re crack climbing, you might need to place a few extra pieces so bring more than you think you’ll need.

If you’re sport climbing, bring brushes to clean holds dirtied from winter, chalk in case there’s spring seepage in pockets.

Bring some leaver-biners and quicklinks for when you can’t reach the top.

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Helmet

It’s been a long and cold winter in Canada, so there will be lots of rockfall at the crags.

Even once solid holds on popular routes can break off. If you do knock a rock off, yell “rock” to warn people below of the incoming stone.

Helmets are so light and ventilated these days that it’s almost embarrassing to not wear one while cragging.