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Survival: Bring Your Own Gear

Don't scrimp on survival equpiment.
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On the summit of Peru’s 19,768-foot Artesonraju, a friend and I encountered a climber who was suffering from the altitude. He was so out of it he couldn’t undo his zipper to take a leak. It was clear that we needed to lower this sick climber down. The snow was unconsolidated crap, and we couldn’t find suitable anchors on the flat, featureless face. Worse yet, we’d left our own snow pickets at home, opting to buy Peruvian ones in Huaraz. Being in a life-or-death situation where we had to build anchors was beyond stressful, especially when the pickets we’d bought—made out of thin sheet metal—kept folding in half and collapsing. After countless hours and several failed pickets, we got ourselves—and the climber—off the mountain. But on subsequent trips, I’ve always brought pickets (like MSR’s Coyote) from home. They may be unwieldy to travel with, but the alternative is even less appealing.

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