What’s in Nina Caprez’s pack?
Nina Caprez joined Team Petzl in 2010. This world-class climber looks to sport climbing and multi-pitch routes to satisfy her vertical appetite. Today, she gives us a sneak peek inside the pack she brings when climbing multi-pitch routes…
February 16 2015
- An Arc’teryx backpack: I like to have a comfortable pack for long approaches. I use the same pack to haul gear, so it needs to be made with durable material and be rather simple (no unnecessary pockets or exterior attachments).
- A HIRUNDOS harness: I like to wear the new HIRUNDOS harness when climbing multi-pitch routes since the weight-to-comfort ratio is ideal. I also bring along a SAKAPOCHE chalk bag and a good Lapis brush.
- A 60m VOLTA 9.2mm rope: This single lightweight and durable rope allows me to work pitches.
- A rack of 14 ANGE quickdraws, size L: these are my favorite quickdraws since they are both lightweight and easy to clip. Fourteen draws allows me to climb all different kinds of pitches.
- Two pair of Scarpa climbing shoes: when you are on a multi-pitch route, it’s all too easy to drop one shoe, so it’s nice to have a second pair in the pack! There may also be a mix of both vertical and overhanging pitches, so I like to have one pair of stiff and one pair of softer climbing shoes.
- A METEOR helmet: a helmet is a very personal piece of gear. The METEOR’s shape fits my head perfectly and it is also extremely lightweight. I wear a helmet when I go trad climbing or am on an exposed route (potential bad fall situation). But when I climb an extremely overhanging multi-pitch sport route (like Ali Baba), I don’t find wearing a helmet to be useful.
- The GRIGRI: this is my regular belay device. I know how to use it well, and it is also practical when I fall seconding. In other words, if I fall while seconding an overhanging pitch, I might end up hanging way out in space like a dead weight. To be able to deal with this type of situation, I set up the GRIGRI on my end of the rope before leaving the anchor.
- The REVERSO is an essential piece of gear on any multi-pitch route: when you belay someone on a completely vertical terrain at an anchor in the middle of the wall or even sitting in a belay seat, it is the only way to provide a dynamic belay. It is also useful to belay a second in auto-blocking mode. And lastly, I also use it as my rappel device.
- A minimum three locking carabiners: I like when they are small and light, like the SPIRIT SCREW-LOCK or the ATTACHE.
- Small SPIRIT carabiners are always useful. You can use them for anything, like when building an anchor.
- A few FIN’ANNEAU slings: I like to carry two sling sizes with me. Two 180cm slings for building anchors, and three 60cm slings to extend draws in order to avoid rope drag when climbing.
- A 7mm prusik loop: I use my prusik when rappelling or as a gear sling in my pack.
- I always carry the BASIC with me. Even if I have not planned to ascend any fixed ropes, this little tool is an essential piece of gear. Sometimes the rope gets stuck on a rappel and you need the ability to pull hard or even to ascend the rope. In the event that I am “hanging way out in space like a dead weight” when seconding, I use it along with the GRIGRI to ascend to the next quickdraw.
- LINK control cord: I always climb with a single rope and a tag line. I clip it to my harness with a MICRO TRAXION. This allows me to climb to the anchor without being weighed down. I also use it for rappels.
- MICRO TRAXION: at the top of a pitch, I build and then clip in to the anchor. Next, I clip the tag line to the anchor and I raise the haul bag, which contains the second’s gear. While belaying the second, I am able to raise the pack quickly, which allows me to put on a warm layer and to hydrate. The MICRO TRAXION can be useful for ascending a rope as well as for setting up for a rescue in the event of an accident.
- Staying hydrated: the minimum is two liters per person when spending the day on a wall. I always take plain water, since sweet drinks tend to make me even thirstier, and a thermos with regular or herbal tea. Having enough to drink is much more important for me than having enough to eat, otherwise I bonk! A thermos with a hot drink warms me up and it’s always nice to have a cup of tea high up on the wall!
- Chimpanzee energy bars: when heading out on a multi-pitch climb I usually eat a good breakfast. This means that I don’t take much food with me other than 2 or 3 energy bars and an applesauce pouch. I like bars that are easy to digest and I eat half a bar about every two hours. This keeps me from getting hungry, keeps my blood sugar up, and also maintains my level of energy when climbing. I obviously end up eating a huge meal at dinner!
- Arc’teryx gloves: I like wearing thin but warm gloves. I’m not a big fan of leather gloves because they make you sweat easily and I don’t like wearing damp gloves all day long. My gloves are a bit less durable and grippy than leather gloves when holding the rope, but it’s what I prefer.
- Warm Smartwool socks: when I climb a multi-pitch route that I know I will have to rappel, I don’t take socks with me (or I put them at the bottom of my pack). Instead, I like to wear big thick warm socks at the anchor. For one, it gives my already tired feet a break, and two it's practical. I put them in the pocket of my down jacket, which lets me take them on and off quickly. Looking for your shoes at the bottom of the pack is an easy way to drop something, including a shoe. However, I’ll admit that it is nice having a sock sponsor since they get holes pretty quickly when you don’t wear shoes... ;-)
- A big puffy Arc’teryx down jacket: the traditional accessory for climbers everywhere, and the thing to always take with you.
- Climbing tape, a nail file, and nail clippers: these are the little things that you need all the time since spending an entire day on the wall takes its toll on your fingertips!
- Belay glasses: these glasses have become a vital piece of gear for me. My neck is eternally grateful for them.
- A TIKKINA headlamp: we have all experienced at one point or another topping out on a multi-pitch route at night. Without a headlamp you are literally blind. Always carry one in your pack.
- A SPATHA knife: the knife for any situation, for slicing Swiss cheese, for cutting away hair that gets caught in your rappel device, and even for cutting the rope if it gets stuck or in the event of an accident. Essential!
- POWER CRUNCH: my stash of chalk!!