12. Retreating from a Route

What happens if you run out of time, take too long, or if unexpected weather rolls in while you are mid route? In this video, we consider the importance of retreating from a route. It’s important to know that not all multi-pitch routes allow you to retreat mid-route or rappel the route.

When starting your multi pitch climbing career, consider how “committing” your route is, and if you have the required skills to get up and off it in time.

1. Start with routes that will allow you to retreat, rather than require you to top out. That way, if your time plan was inaccurate or weather comes in unexpectedly, it’s a relatively straightforward descent off the climb.

2. Determine a turnaround time. This should be based on:

– Weather
– Technical ability
– Fitness
– Fatigue
– Experience with long days and adversity
– How much daylight hours remain or when you want to return

We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!


Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.