The Art of Yardsaling


No, I’m not asking you to sell the seven old pairs of climbing shoes you’ve “been meaning to resole.” Nor am I going to tell you how to maximize your time picking through stuff in other people’s yards. I will, however, give a detailed description of how best to “yardsale” your belongings before, during, and after climbing.

WHAT IS “YARDSALING”: verb. Unlike the two-word “yard sale,” yardsaling has nothing to do with giving unwanted belongings to others for 25 cents each. Instead, it has everything to do with spreading your climbing gear, food, clothing, and other items out in as large an area as possible. (Note: This term can also be applied to alpine skiing, when one hits a mogul, falls, and loses hat, gloves, goggles, ski poles, and both skis. This alternate definition will not, however, be used in this post.)

THE PRE-CLIMBING YARDSALE (Also known as “packing”):
Yardsaling is by far the most effective method of determining what to pack for a day at the crag. Begin by deciding what you’d like to wear on the approach, and lay those items out across your bed. Then add in your belay layers, extra socks, just-in-case layers, unnecessary rain layers, and your belay gloves to the now sprawling stacks. Then spread out all of your climbing gear—harness, chalk bag, extra chalk, warm-up shoes, sending shoes, extra shoes, approach shoes, crocs, draws, slings, rope, rope bag, cams, nuts, hexes, nut tool, headlamp, additional garb—across your bedroom to make sure you have everything. Next, add several water bottles, wet wipes, granola bars you won’t eat, sandwiches you will eat, and other snacks and necessities in any room you have left. Lastly, pull out several backpacks to assess into which everything might fit. Voila! Yardsale complete. Now you can go about stuffing everything into the desired backpack(s).

Say goodbye to rummaging through your backpack every time you want a long draw or pb+j. When you get to the base of your project, or the warm-up route next to it, set down your pack(s) and immediately open every available zipper. Reach hands into pockets and begin pulling out every item you touch until you have the essentials—gear for climbing/belaying the route, snacks, and water—and most everything else in your pack strewn about around you. Feel free to begin making loose piles to “organize” your yardsale while simultaneously spreading out your items to cover no less than a seven-foot radius from your backpack.

YARDSALING AFTER THE CRAG (Also know as “unpacking” and “drying”):
Set your backpack down in the middle of your living room. Similar to while at the crag, open every zipper and snap pocket and pull out all items, tossing them haphazardly around the room. Once your backpack is empty, set it against your couch to let it “air out,” and then begin hanging the rest of your items on the remaining furniture surfaces, moving to the floor when you run out of space.
If you’re climbing the next day, leave items out overnight (as this doubles as your pre-climbing yardsale) and pack in the morning. If you’re taking a few days off, consider leaving your gear out for a day or two or three or until you feel the need to sit on your couch without touching dirty socks.


Originally published December 7, 2015, on

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