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How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing?
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gblauer
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Nov 3, 2008, 3:45 PM
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How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing?
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Rock climbing NOT ice climbing!

We climbed on Sunday at the gunks and it was 38 degrees when we started. We enjoyed direct sun on 1 climb (2 pitches) and then the sun slipped away and the day just got colder and colder. By the time we got back to the car it was back to 38 degrees.

Truthfully, it really bordered on NOT FUN. So...how warm does it have to be for you to hit the rocks?

I think my new threshold is 50 degrees with full sun and no wind.


Partner macherry


Nov 3, 2008, 3:56 PM
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Re: [gblauer] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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when my hands cramp and i can't feel my toes in climbing shoes.

not fun!!!


wonderwoman


Nov 3, 2008, 4:06 PM
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Re: [gblauer] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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On Sunday, I think it was 40ish out and I led an 8 and 10ish sport climb. When the sun went away and it felt 30ish, my hands hurt like a mother before they finally went numb and I couldn't bend or feel my fingers anymore. I retreated off a top rope and called it a day!

I was thinking ice might be better for me, because at least I could wear some gloves and not have to touch cold rock or metal with my bare hands!

Or maybe I'm just not that tough!


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Nov 3, 2008, 7:34 PM
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Re: [wonderwoman] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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Gail - break out the tools and go dry!(joke, referencing the incident a few years ago when someone was dry-tooling in the Uberfall.)


For local cragging, I pretty much feel 50 degrees and at least some sunshine is my cut off point.

I was irked this weekend because i didn't trust the forecast for Saturday. It SAID high of 54..... but I didn't want to find myself out climbing on 38 degrees, so I hiked instead. Missed a beautiful day out there. Stupid me.

I have climbed in the low 40's and as Gail said - bordering on not fun. Now, if I was on a trip and had limited time, and the weather crapped out, I'd want to climb in the lower temps. Or if I had someone visiting, similarly, I would get out there and buck up.

I also extend my season by taking two decent-length trips per year to Jtree; one at the start of December to "finish" my season, and one in late March to start out.


shockabuku


Nov 3, 2008, 9:21 PM
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Re: [gblauer] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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I climbed at the Gunks one day when it was like 42 and drizzling. I could barely aid the start of Trapped Like a Rat (5.7). It was horribly fun, and it was quiet that day.


jakedatc


Nov 3, 2008, 9:22 PM
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Re: [happiegrrrl] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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Hey i saw this and thought i'd give some tips that i've picked up the last few years bouldering in some pretty cold temps through the winter.

1) shoes.. kept in the warmest spot beforehand.. ie don't pack them in the car the night before.. COLD! keep them in your jacket once you get to the crag then keep some nice wool/blend socks for between routes

2) Warm up a little bit on easy stuff (if single pitch stuff/bouldering or skip to step 2) Then get your hands really really freaking cold.. numb.. then warm them back up again. The pro's do this all the time since ideal temps are pretty cold.
from Ethan Pringle's blog
In reply to:
The next dry day, it was 35 degrees at the B and T, which would have been fine, without the 20MPH gusts of wind that seemed to pick up just as I was ready to climb. I had to employ some old tricks in between burns to stay warm including layering (duh), jogging around to keep the blood moving, staying hydrated (as always), wearing pants over my harness and performing the “Freeze-Thaw” technique, where you climb around the base of the cliff or fondle sharp crimps until your fingers freeze, then warm them up in your pockets to get the blood moving before you quickly get ready to climb.

3) acclimatize... the more time you spend outdoors in the cold the more used to it you get. same as the heat in the summer. 50F feels bad right now but in Feb/March 50 will feel too warm on projects haha

i've sport climbed in low 40's in long sleeves comfortably at rumney since it's south facing. Have bouldered at 30 and probably below that wind chill using 1-3 and keeping bundled up between burns. Friction is awesome in the winter.. you should find a way to function so you can take advantage of it :)

i wasn't here

/runs from the ladies room..


clee03m


Nov 3, 2008, 9:31 PM
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Re: [gblauer] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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When it stops being fun. But I am a really bad judge, and seems to always end up freezing my ass off. When it's so cold I start getting stupid, that's when I know I should stop.


Partner macherry


Nov 3, 2008, 9:38 PM
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when i no longer can hold on to the rope to give a good belay


erica


Nov 4, 2008, 4:50 AM
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Re: [macherry] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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For me it completely depends on the sun (and a lot on the wind)! I have climbed comfortably at a south-facing crag on a calm sunny day with a high of 30. I have also been miserable at the same crag when its 50 and cloudy/windy...

I find putting hand warmers in my chalk bag helps out a lot - also putting my hands on the back of my neck mid-climb can warm things up for the short-term.


tigerlilly


Nov 4, 2008, 6:06 AM
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Re: [gblauer] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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I'm about the same, maybe as low as 45 with lots of sun and no wind. I have plenty of warm clothes the keep the rest of me warm, but when my fingers are so cold I can't tell if I have a grip on the rock or not, well, that's when it's time to retreat for some hot chocolate and a cookie.

Or, buy a plane ticket to Vegas! Yeah, baby! Red Rocks, here I come!

Kathy Smile


clausti


Nov 4, 2008, 6:31 AM
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Re: [tigerlilly] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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32 to boulder, 45 to climb.

Sunshine is preferred.


Gmburns2000


Nov 4, 2008, 7:24 AM
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Re: [clausti] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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Gotta be 60 on the rock for me. That means if it is 40 in the shade but the sun is shining brightly on the rock, then I can probably climb. But I had a hard time cleaning gear on a 5.3 two weeks ago in 60-degree weather that was in the shade (Yum Yum Yab Yum). Funny thing is that I led the first two pitches in the sun just fine, but the last two pitches were too cold and my fingers really hurt even when pulling out cams. And it doesn't matter the grade either. If it is warm, then I can climb anything at my limit, but if it is below 60 degrees then even a 5.3 shuts me down. Frustrating to say the least.


stonefox


Nov 4, 2008, 7:39 AM
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Re: [gblauer] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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I can boulder all year long - temp doesn't bother me there.
Rope climbing - probably 50's min. w/ sun.


troutboy


Nov 4, 2008, 8:06 AM
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Re: [gblauer] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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I'll go down to the mid 40s at the Gunks, as long as it is not too windy. But at those temps I stay with 1-pitch and TR and keep a thermos of hot tea nearby.

There are a couple "local" crags that are fine for me in the upper 30's as long as the sun is out. Of course, the climbing pretty much sucks Wink so I just end up mountain biking instead.

TS


granite_grrl


Nov 4, 2008, 8:10 AM
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Re: [stonefox] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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Generally I can "comfortably" climb till 7C (~45F). Sunday we were out and it was 5C (~40F) with a wind, on a north facing cliff and we most certainly weren't dressed warm enough. I would try 5C again if I was dressed better though.


clausti


Nov 4, 2008, 9:15 AM
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stonefox wrote:
I can boulder all year long - temp doesn't bother me there.
Rope climbing - probably 50's min. w/ sun.

brrr i used to say that. then i went bouldering in college once when it was 19F. too cold. very much too cold.


stonefox


Nov 4, 2008, 9:48 AM
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Re: [clausti] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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clausti wrote:
stonefox wrote:
I can boulder all year long - temp doesn't bother me there.
Rope climbing - probably 50's min. w/ sun.

brrr i used to say that. then i went bouldering in college once when it was 19F. too cold. very much too cold.

That's really weird that you said that - I started writing (then deleted) about my 19 degree 5 day climbing trip to Rumney where I must have brainwashed myself into thinking it was warm. I guess it depends on how you start your day. If you are cold from the start that usually doesn't change.
2 weeks ago I was bone cold at the New.


acacongua


Nov 4, 2008, 12:10 PM
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30 and cloudy. 30-40 and sunny is optimal.


limeydave


Nov 4, 2008, 3:59 PM
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Re: [clausti] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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clausti wrote:
32 to boulder, 45 to climb.

Sunshine is preferred.

This is correct.

Although belaying in the shade <50 is teh suck/


lena_chita
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Nov 4, 2008, 4:20 PM
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Re: [gblauer] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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The coldest I've ever climbed at was 34F, VERY windy (but sunny)-- in Red Rocks, of all places! I don't think I would want it any colder than that, but I wouldn't mind a repeat.

It was our last day in Vegas, when we got to 2nd pullout it was so windy that i couldn't open the car door. We decided that we were NOT climbing that day. But before heading back to the hotel for a lazy day of "other types of physical activity" Wink my husband thought that we could at least hike for a little bit and take pictures of some cacti that he saw the previous day but was unable to photograph.

So we hiked-- and disovered that once we got off the windy spot and started moving, it wasn't so bad, after all. By the time we hiked back to the car for gear, and then hiked to the (very sunny) crag, I had my gloves and hood off, and removed two of the layers... Sure, I put everything back on to belay, and it was really colder than I would have liked, but it ended up being my best climbing day of the trip, in terms of sending routes.


mindaa


Nov 5, 2008, 10:47 AM
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Re: [tigerlilly] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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tigerlilly wrote:

Or, buy a plane ticket to Vegas! Yeah, baby! Red Rocks, here I come!

Kathy Smile

Haha, I too had my worst days of cold, windy climbing at Red Rocks. Highs were somewhere in the upper 30s/low 40s. Even the handwarmers in my chalkbag could keep my fingers from getting numb. Fortunately my hubby is much tougher and made sure we kept climbing. :)


marebear


Nov 5, 2008, 1:00 PM
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Re: [gblauer] How cold does it have to be before you stop climbing? [In reply to]
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I am a wuss about cold, so upper 40's is my absolute low for climbing routes, and that's only if it's sunny and not windy. My hands get so cold and the pain is crazy. I start putting hand warmers in my chalk bag at or below 50 degrees.

As far as bouldering, I'll do that any temp above freezing. I have some big down booties that I put my feet in between goes, climbing shoes and all, and I wear a cozy hat, a down jacket, mittens, and lots of fleece layers. Try the down booties, they are fantastic.


bizarrodrinker


Nov 7, 2008, 9:14 AM
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its never too cold to boulder...unless there is snow and ice on the rocks


marebear


Nov 7, 2008, 9:28 AM
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In reply to:
its never too cold to boulder...unless there is snow and ice on the rocks

It does when you have a circulation disorder:
http://en.wikipedia.org/.../Raynaud%27s_disease


shorty


Nov 9, 2008, 1:18 PM
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marebear wrote:
In reply to:
its never too cold to boulder...unless there is snow and ice on the rocks

It does when you have a circulation disorder:
http://en.wikipedia.org/.../Raynaud%27s_disease

My sister has Raynaud's, and thus has her share of challenges in cooler weather. Here are a few things that work for her:
- Wind stopper fleece is her friend. It's amazing how the insulation properties of regular fleece are reduced with even the lightest breezes. She has a wind stopper fleece hat, gloves, neck gaitor, vest, jacket, and (I think) pants.

- Those chemical handwarmer packs do help. On cold days she drops a small one in her chalk bag and a couple of bigger ones in her jacket pockets (i.e. warm hands inside jacket). I've learned to do the same on alpine climbs.

- Gloves make a big difference. We started with the old-school half-finger wool gloves, but found that the cheaper nylon carpenter's gloves (available at most hardware stores) hold up to climbing better. Some of the carpenter's gloves are available in half-finger styles. If not, just cut the fingers to the proper length and seal the seam stitching so they don't unravel. On a side note, I now use carpenter's gloves while putting up new routes, as my hands get beat up pretty badly from the cleaning and brushing. With a little practice, it's amazing how well one can climb with fingerless gloves.

Diet is important in colder weather. I won't get into the details, as nutritionalists can say it better. But the wrong food and drink can make a cool day feel like being in a freezer.

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