Staying Hydrated During Climbs
What's the key to a success climbing in hotter weather?
If you guessed proper hydration, your absolutely right!
Climbing during hot summer days can be unbearable, especially after you remove the crown and you're out in the open sun cooking like a rotisserie chicken while your butt-hitch down some massive logs. To be honest, I think a bead of sweat just rolled down the side of my head as I pictured that. We’ve all been in that predicament before. You could invest one of those those hats that feature an umbrella to block the sun, but I have better suggestions.
Bring A Water Jug
Throughout the climb, especially on those super-hot sunny days, I tend to carry a 36oz. water jug on my harness. You may be thinking; “that’s just too much unnecessary weight to move around with!” Honestly, it doesn’t bother me at all. And it's a constant reminder to keep drinking water! I have a bad habit of being so concentrated on my task that I forget to eat or drink until I finish my work. My solution was to start carrying that water jug on most of my climbs. I have a DMM Vault that is designated for my water storage. On that water jug, there is a handle that I attached a retired carabiner to, making it super simple to tie on my rope.
Make Like a Camel!
Another option would be to stroll through the canopy while wearing a CamelBak Hydration backpack. This method would definitely reduce the weight on your harness, if you don’t mind wearing a backpack for most of the day. I’ve met a few climbers that have taken this route and they seem to enjoy their hydration method. Personally, the CamelBak would make my back sweat a lot, and I didn't prefer it. To me, it was bad enough I was sweating due to the heat, now throw in some additional sweating because of the pack too. Another factor to look out for is saw dust from cutting limbs! The dust can collect at the end of the drinking apparatus. Once when I went for a drink, I inhaled saw dust and had a coughing fit. A bulk load of saw dust mixed with water just went down my throat. I was so mad, I took the pack off, yelled all clear and threw it down! Just watch your straw before you put your mouth on it.
You don't necessarily need to invest in a hydration backpack or special gear to keep hydrated. Sometimes the simple, creative methods work fine! Call down for some water and your ground chief can tie on a water bottle either using a Clove Hitch or a Girth Hitch. Easy and you don’t have to carry around any extras on your harness. Just remember to crush that water bottle on your head like a boss when your done chugging it too! Just kidding.
In all reality though, keeping hydrated throughout the hot summer days is one of the most important things we can do to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke, and that right there is no joke! We are all industrial athletes in this business, from the climbers to the ground crews. Whether H20 or Gatorade, keep it near-by. Keep hydrated this summer and climb safe!