On August 29th, Carlo Traversi and Sasha DiGiulian topped out the north face of the Eiger, completing the first American ascent of Magic Mushroom (5.13a). Going into the project with more alpine experience than Sasha, Carlo took on the bulk of the gear preparations so we wanted to hear his gear experiences on the climb.

Carlo Traversi and Sasha DiGiulian on the north face of the Eiger
Photo: Mary Mecklenburg @marymeck

Carlo’s Gear logistics

I did all the gear ordering for what we needed up there. I had maybe 2-3 weeks to put together a gear list and it was pretty full-on. There was a lot of gear we needed. This one was mostly a sport route but we did take some trad gear as well.

The trip was largely a Petzl trip because Sasha is a Petzl athlete and I work with Petzl as well. And since the route was mostly sport climbing and not as much trad it was easier to go to Petzl for most of the gear, but we did use some Black Diamond gear also.

I’d definitely like to thank Petzl for providing us with most of the climbing gear that we used. They were super helpful in getting us everything we needed.

Carlo-Traversi---Eiger-gear

Climbing Gear List

Helmets – (1 ea.) Petzl Meteor

Belay Device (1 ea.) Reverso 4,  (1) GriGri 2 for belaying the leader

Harnesses -(Carlo) Petzl Sama, (Sasha) Petzl Hirundos

Ropes – (1) Petzl Contact 9.8 – 70m for climbing, (1) Paso 7.7 – 70m haul line

Draws – (15-20) Ange Finesse 17mm quickdraws

Slings – (10) Petzl Fin’Anneau double-length slings for alpine draws

Carabiners- (20) Petzl Ange S for alpine draws, (4) Petzl Attache 3D, (4) Petzl Spirit Screw Lock

Shoes – (Carlo) 5.10 Verdon, (Sasha) 5.10 Pinky

Pro – (1) rack Black Diamond Camalot C4 .3-1

Personal Anchor – (1 ea.) Petzl Connect Adjusts

Packs – (1) Petzl Bug pack, (1) Black Diamond Touchstone haul bag

The total pack weight varied because part of the time we were carrying full camping gear, sleeping bags, all the food and everything. But just climbing gear for the 2 of us I’d say probably 20 to 25 pounds. But more than that with ropes for sure.

 The Gear

Belay Devices

Carlo-Traversi-and-Sasha-DiGiulian-Eiger-Gear-List-Belay-Devices

We each had a Reverso. One of us carried a GriGri. We only had 1 GriGri on the wall. They’re heavy but we used it for belaying the leader because it was easier to be organizing stuff when you have an auto-blocking device, just to be extra safe.


Ropes

Carlo-Traversi-and-Sasha-DiGiulian-Eiger-Gear-List-Ropes

We had just the two ropes, a Petzl 9.8, 70 meter for climbing and a Petzl 7.7, 70 meter for hauling. And we used them for the whole month, just those two ropes. I was really impressed. And they’re still going strong, not beat to shit.


Harnesses

Carlo-Traversi-and-Sasha-DiGiulian-Eiger-Gear-List-Harnesses

I was using a Petzl Sama and Sasha was using a Hirundos. The Sama is super comfy and worked great the whole time. I think in retrospect Sasha would have been happier in a Sama because the Hirundos is pretty light weight and we were doing a lot of hanging belays. I was happy that I went for a little bit beefier harness, for sure. But it worked out both ways.


Packs

Carlo-Traversi-and-Sasha-DiGiulian-Eiger-Gear-List-Packs

We were carrying a small pack while climbing, the Petzl Bug. And then when we were hauling we were also carrying the Black Diamond Touchstone haul bag for the bulk of the gear.


3 Stand-Out Pieces

Carlo-Traversi-and-Sasha-DiGiulian-Eiger-Gear-List-StandOut-gear

    1. The Petzl Connect Adjust. That was one of the most useful tools we had up there. It’s essentially a length of rope that runs through an auto-blocking adjustment device that’s at the anchor, and it allows you adjust your distance from the anchor which is super helpful. You can let out a bunch of slack but if you need to pull yourself up and out of the system, you can just tighten that band. It was really nice to be able to lengthen and shorten where you were at according to the belay all the time, so that was a super useful tool.
    2. For me the shoes were the most critical. I was wearing the 5.10 Verdons, the new lace-up shoe. Those were absolutely fantastic shoes for that type of climbing because they’re really, really precise and you can stand on very small edges, but they’re also really, really comfortable. I’m not sure how they struck the balance between that, but there is a new liner that is much more comfortable than their older shoes that I’ve worn previously. So I was able to climb 16-hour days in them and they weren’t hurting my feet too much, but they were also really tight and I was able to climb some very very thin slab. The video below is Carlo explaining the features of the Verdon’s (or watch directly on YouTube).

  1. We also spent a lot of time in approach shoes when we were jumarring and hiking. We were both using the Adidas hightop Scope GTX. That is the best approach shoe I have ever used, hands down. I’ve used a ton of approach shoes and that Adidas GORE-TEX® Scope, the hightop specifically, with the Stealth rubber on it is by far the best approach shoe I’ve ever used. I was jumarring a lot with it, I probably jumarred close to 20,000 feet over the course of the month. Usually you blow out the toes because they’re dragging on the rock the whole time, and these were old shoes that I brought and I still didn’t even get close to blowing the toes out. And the Stealth rubber was obviously amazing. They’re comfortable, they kept my feet dry, and they just worked really well. I was really impressed with that shoe.
    Carlo Traversi on the approach to Eiger
    photo: Mary Mecklenburg @marymeck

Gear Issues

The Ange quickdraws have a little bit of an issue with them. Twice I was in a weird situation where the draw was coming unclipped. It’s kind of strange and I’m not sure if it was actually an issue with the draws or not. I would maybe modify them before I used them again. It would be nicer to have a tighter piece of webbing around the ‘biner on the bolt side. But really there was nothing we used that didn’t work the way it was supposed to.

Photo: Frank Kretschmann / adidas Outdoor.
Photo: Frank Kretschmann / adidas Outdoor.

Increasing Gear Efficiency

Definitely the systems, like making sure the ropes were coiled at belays, dealing with the haul lines, and just simplifying the belay systems so we were both on the same page made things speed up. It took a little while for us be on the same page about how to set up belays and how to organize that. That was one of the first things because I’d get to a belay and it would be different from what I would normally set up, so we each made some compromises as to what system we were using and what was going to be the most efficient for both of us.

Efficiency in belay changeovers was probably the fastest thing we were able to work through. Also just route leading and understanding the terrain. Learning how to move faster in the terrain we were in definitely progressed as the trip went on.

Carlo Traversi and Sasha DiGiulian on the Eiger
Photo: Mary Mecklenburg @marymeck

WeighMyRack Summary

Hats off to Carlo and Sasha for their tenacity and impressive climbing. The first American ascent of Magic Mushroom would be an impressive highlight on any climber’s resumé. But for two climbers with little big wall or alpine experience that hadn’t climbed together, the accomplishment becomes monumental. On a climb of that magnitude, it’s imperative to get your systems and gear dialed. With Petzl as the main sponsor of the climb, Carlo’s gear list was almost entirely Petzl gear. However, it still takes time to coordinate and pack the gear even if you’re working primarily with one brand. The most important part about picking gear is to make sure you know how to use it. Climbing skill can sometimes make-up for a lack of gear knowledge, but thoroughly knowing your gear and how to use it will increase efficiency, the chance for success, and your safety on every climb.

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Andreas Unterschuetz

Andreas Unterschuetz

Andreas is the other half of WeighMyRack. The half that films and edits all the WeighMyRack videos. And the half that usually does the dishes. And he's really good at making pizza.

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