Monday, December 6, 2010
1. Start Early: It may seem like common sense but generally the earlier you get started with your planning the more money you can save, the less time you spend fretting over details, and the more time you have to smooth out any problems that pop up. As a general rule of thumb plan on at least twice as much time as the length of your trip. So for your two week trip to Thailand start getting ready at least four weeks in advance.
2. Be Weather Wise: Just because you have the time doesn't mean it's the best time to go. Follow tip #1 and make sure you check the weather of your intended destination. You don't want to end up flying in during monsoon season or running home with your tail tucked between your legs because the rock was freezing or the ice collapsing.
3. Plan Ahead: Get things like your hotel, car rental, and other logistics in order beforehand as much as possible. After a long flight it's nice to not have to hassle with figuring out where you're going to stay. Whether it's booking a stay at The Ritz or printing off a map to your campground the extra preparation will save you time on your trip where it counts. Arrange any rides you may need to or from the airport. Always call people to remind them they agreed to give you aride before you get on your plane so you don't find yourself on the ground wondering why your buddy hasn't picked you up. Arrive with a plan or plan on being disappointed. This also includes getting any immunizations you may need. Getting recommended immunizations can keep your trip to climb from becoming a trip to meet new hospital friends.
4. Get Organized: Make a list that you can check off before you walk out the door or drive off. Categorizing your equipment for different types of trips makes it easier to get things together quickly but also makes it easier to find things for even day trips. Save your lists for the future to save time.
5.Train Smarter Not Harder: Whether you're training for the flawless cracks of Yosemite or the limestone overhangs of Thailand don't waste time training for a style or type of climbing you're not going to be doing. Climbing slabs before your trip to Indian Creek is simply a waste of time so spend time climbing routes that are similar to the area you'll be visiting or training physical aspects that will be called upon at your destination. So for those Indian Creek splitters you'd want to work on your crack technique and endurance instead of your power and crimp strength.
6. Keep Your Essentials Close: Passport, I.D., wallet, directions, these are essential but don't forget about your rope, harness, and shoes, because without these your trip is essentially toast. In a 50L pack you can generally fit a rope, small rack, shoes, harness, and a few other small items and still be able to stuff it into the overhead compartment depending on the dimensions of the pack. Be careful what you put in your carry on though. Read government rules on what they allow in carry on's and be particularly careful with foreign countries which may have more strict rules and less dissemination of carry on info.
7. Carry On What You Can: Carrying on as much equipment as you can is the cheapest option. If you're bringing a significant amount of gear check into shipping rates or what it costs to get it at your destination. See if you can borrow the equipment from someone at your destination. Baggage fees on airlines are expensive and they're not going to get cheaper so avoid them whenever possible.
8. Leave Time For Flying: Even though it feels like every time you show up early to the airport you just end up sitting there it's better than leaving just enough time to show up on time only to have something come up that causes you to be late. If you're always early you'll never be late. Leave time for layovers as well in case a flight runs late. This is especially true of international flights where leaving an hour between flights will keep you from being stuck bouncing from country to country trying to get to your destination.
9. Don't Drive When You Should Be Climbing: If your destination isn't difficult to find in the dark then don't waste time that could be spent climbing driving around. We all spend enough time in our cars, you're trying to climb. By following tip #3 you can make the night driving smoother but if your destination is difficult to find in the dark don't take a big risk getting lost which may cost you more time.
10. Schedule Rest Days: You want to get the most out of your time but by scheduling rest days and keeping easier climbing days on your schedule you can get the most out of your trip instead of risking injury or having your muscles so tired you can barely climb into bed. Don't do more than three days of hard climbing without a rest day.
Most of all don't forget to have fun. That's why you're taking a trip. Explore the area and enjoy the best the area has to offer. If you find yourself feeling negative take a step back to reassess why you're there in the first place.