The Dream of the Very Big Climbing Wall: Big wall

Big Wall Equipment

For many climbers, it is a dream to take on a large climbing route over the course of several days and to camp in the wall overnight while on the way. Big Walls are climbing walls that are usually several hundred metres high and are taken on by rope teams that put in a substantial amount of effort.

Climbing equipment, a sleeping spot, cooker, food and clothing all needs to be carefully selected to ensure you are tackling that big wall with all the accessories you might need, but nothing in excess. With that, the loss of one single piece of big wall accessories can destine the whole journey to fail.

Haul Bag and Portaledge - the Most Important Big Wall Accessories

These haul bags transport your tools on high climbing walls - incredibly robust transport bags that climbers fill with everything they need to set up their bivouac area. The haul bags are pulled up behind you on the rope while you are climbing and stop when you stop. Many rope teams will use several smaller haul bags instead of one big one to distribute the weight more evenly and make transport that much easier.

Big wall climbers will transport collapsible Portaledges in their haul bags to find a more comfortable resting spot in a vertical wall. Portaledges are similar to hanging camp beds. Their aluminium frames are pulled over with tear-resistant fabric to ensure a more relaxed sleep at belay points. Depending on the design, they offer a capacity for up to two people and can be covered over by an additional Portaledge fly, which can even be used in bad weather conditions.

Big Wall Accessories by Black Diamond, Edelrid and Metolius

Aside from Portaledges and haul bags, big wall climbers also use the whole spectrum of climbing hardware, that are even used for shorter, multi-rope climbing routes. This can often leave the climber carrying a bit more weight than desired, and that is when their gear slings and climbing backpacks become more densely hung.

On more technical climbs on big walls it is also recommended to have climbing slings, rippers and hammers with you. Although many already climbed routes at Yosemite National Park already have the hooks placed in abundance, they still have to be placed on new routes, so these hooks have to be transported and used as well.

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