Alpine Style Apartment
I recently moved into a fourth floor apartment. It is nice and large enough that it allows me a separate room for my gear, and overall I could not be happier with my present living space…with the exception of my girlfriend not allowing bikes in the living room. However, the walk from the gear room to my car is has significantly increased from my previous residence (a fancy way of saying my parents’ basement).
I am lucky enough to get outside and do something almost every day which is excellent. However, doing something every day has translated into ascending and descending the stairs to my apartment multiple times, often carrying something heavy and/or awkward. The building is old with narrow stairs and short ceilings which makes carrying skis and snowboards an adventure. I wondered why I had not ice climbed much this season. Could the answer be something as simple as ice climbing gear is heavy and I don’t want to trudge down the stairs with it? Wet frozen ice climbing gear is even heavier, and it sucks to drag it all back up the stairs.
When I used to prepare for a day’s activities I would pack everything I could possibly need. At my previous residence, having all of my gear just steps from my car was a luxury I had not yet realized. These days I have had to refine my approach toward what gets packed and what stays behind. I have taken the popular climbing style of Alpine Climbing and adopted it to my apartment living. I call my method the Alpine Style Apartment.
Like the alpine style climber, my goal is to be fast and light. I pack only what I deem necessary. Because of this ethic, I am forced to think carefully about what I pack because as items add up they slow me down and force me to make more trips up and down the stairs (like carrying between camps on an expedition style climb).
Being quick on the stairs offers many advantages. The most important advantage is that I conserve energy by reducing the number of times I go up and down the stairs. The energy that I save on packing for a trip can then be used on my chosen activity. Secondly, moving quickly up and down the stairs helps keep me away from objective danger; like the alpine climber worries about avalanches, I worry about encounters with my two creepy neighbors.
The adjustment from my old place to my new place has taken some time and I do miss having the safety net of having packed everything when I arrive somewhere. However, I have liked the challenge of packing only what I need, and I spend more time preparing for my departures than I did previously. I am now not only taking less to the car, but am taking less into the backcountry with me since I am thinking more critically about my gear. My encounters with my neighbors have been reduced as well as a result of my new method. If I can only find a way to get bikes into the living room I will have complete success.