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Big Wall Water

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Hand.jammin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 10

I was trying to get an idea of how much water most people consume on a big wall. Me and my partner are climbing lurking fear in a few weeks and were planning on a gallon each a day, however I can't remember the last time I drank a gallon of water in a single day. Would appreciate some feedback, thanks.

csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 325

Really depends on the temps. I was on Washington Column last week and a gallon per person per day was overkill. It was cool and we got rained on, we consumed about 2 gallons in two days. Last year I was on it and two gallons per person per day would have been more like it. It was hot. LF does get a fair amount of sun all day.

I also use water to cook meals and drink coffee sometimes on a wall. Many also like to have a little reserve on a wall in case they have to take an extra day due to weather, traffic, or an overinflated sense of their abilities. What have you done on other have been on other walls, right?

You may not typically carry/drink a gallon of water a day while you do routes or go cragging, but what about in a normal day...remember to include all the places you'd normally get fluids. Food with water content, things other than water that you drink, etc, these are all things you don't typically get on a wall because you are carrying and eating dry food. It all adds up to more fluids than you'd think.

Gavin W · · Langley, BC · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 181

I can't speak specifically to big walls, but a gallon in a day is totally reasonable. If you're working hard while climbing, you should definitely be drinking that much in order to stay properly hydrated.

Eric D · · Gnarnia · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 230

That is considered standard but it does come down to temps and sun. You can get by just fine with 3 liters per day on a shady wall and maybe need 5 per day when getting cooked all day.

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 420

There's a difference between how much you normally want to drink and how much you should. If it's warm out you should be drinking about a gallon a day and scheduling it so that you will. If you wait until your body needs the water, often it's too late and you're already dehydrated and cramping.

Erik Sloan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 139


I'd second that you are more active on the wall, for more of the day, than you are normally so drinking a gallon a day will seem easy - unless you're a roofing contractor who works for himself/herself, I'd bet this will be much more activity.

Good news is the creek has been running good by the base of Lurking Fear so you might have all the water you can drink.

ps. In climbing the Nose and Lurking Fear back to back this spring, I was struck by how LF is really not easier, especially once you factor in the portaledge camping versus easy stances and ledges on the Nose, not to mention the difference in approach. LF also has harder aid moves, though for sure they're super mellow just take a more time than the Nose, which after Sickle is pretty splitter.

Loganator · · blue van, on the highway to no · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 240

LF gets afternoon sun. If you wake up early and climb a lot before the sun hits, maybe you could go a little lighter on water. The 5.10 pitches higher up are in a left facing corner, so you might get shade there too. The approach is burlier than I wanted it to be, but there was water flowing near the base last may. If you bivy at the base you might be able to get a refill before you blast in the AM.

There's supposed to be a spring somewhere north of the summit, but I've never been able to find it, I'm usually schwacking around looking for the descent trail. Although the little river near the start of the east ledges will at least still have pools of eater if you are desperate.

If you are really nervous, you could ascend the east ledges And stash a gallon somewhere near the top. This would help with the descent route finding crux too.

Have fun! Its a great climb

Hand.jammin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 10

Thanks for all the great feedback guys! This past week I've been training with only a gallon of water a day and found it to be Almost not enough so we will definitely be bringing a gallon a day each up there. I am stoked to hear that there is a stream right by the base of the climb because our newest realization was hauling all that water to the base is gonna suck!! For those who have climbed LF, how long did the approach take you and was it strait forward? Also this is our first big wall, however we have spent 6 months training/lifting and practicing our hauling (2:1 set up), aiding/jugging/ and belay change overs extensively but what would you guys estimate out time for the route will be? We are hoping 3 days with about 6 pitches a day but are planning for 4 days expecting it to take longer then planned

Erik Sloan · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 139

Climbed LF the other day. Such an awesome route! The water is going but starting to slow down in the gully. Might get some rain in a couple days so we'll see if it stays strong enough.

approach takes 75-90 minutes your first time and then 60 ish after that.

Passed a bunch of teams up there. The first day is slow, but once you hit pitch 7 the angle really kicks back, some stances appear at belays, etc.

Let us know how it goes! Woot!

walmongr · · Gilbert AZ · Joined Aug 2015 · Points: 125

I can't speak for water.. My partner and I always plan on 2 liters a day. But we work outside and live in Phoenix so 80 and sunny is like winter! I would think for you first wall 6 pitches a day is pretty ambitious something always ends up in a cluster!! Definitely take enough for 4-5 days and enjoy rather then suffer or bail because you didn't have enough stuff for 1 more day..

csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 325

Was just up there this weekend. The spring is still flowing. It took us one hour to the base with just day gear, no haul bags or overnight gear. I suspect it will be nearly 2x that long when I go back with heavy bags, especially getting them up the 3rd class section at the end.

Hand.jammin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 10

Thank you for the beta csproul, still thinking about hauling half our water in since 8 gallons would take forever to pump with my water filter. Looks like some rain is moving in this weekend

Max McKee · · Monterey, CA · Joined Dec 2015 · Points: 35

Did you make it out there yet?

Hand.jammin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 10

Snow/rain moved through the valley that weekend and we went to Zion to climb moonlight buttress instead. I imagine the stream is still flowing with the recent run off though.

csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 325

update: as of last Thursday, the stream near Lurking Fear is a trickle. My partner was able to fill a few gallons of water by walking some up the gulley and finding something that was still trickling. My guess is that it probably won't last much longer unless there is some rain. And it was hot on LF. A gallon per person per day was barely enough. We did find a couple of abandoned water jugs that we used to cook with. Once on the way down there was still some water running above horsetail falls that you could treat/filter.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northern California
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