A Better Way to Rig an Alpine Sled

A Better Way to Rig an Alpine Sled

The typical way to rig an alpine sled is to wrap a loop of webbing around the pack down low and fasten the sled to this loop with a locking carabiner. This is how I have done it on previous climbs and on my first Denali attempt.

The trouble with that is the packs gets pulled out awkwardly and depending on the packs geometry the sled can pull on the shoulder straps as well as the waist belt shifting the load higher on your body and away from your power base. And if the sled gets out of control, it is yanking the pack to one side or the other which can take you off balance, which is not good on a mountainside.

I tinkered with a few different methods, and came up with a pretty simple solution that puts all the sled weight on the waist belt and let’s my legs carry all the load without wasting any core strength. It only required a bit of filing to enlarge the existing strap slots in the waist belt former and a bit of CA glue.

The result is a much more balanced pulling arrangement the puts the load where it needs to be. I have tested it with my sled training chain setup and it feels good. The only potential downside I see is that since the waist belt is now carrying all of the sleds load, I’ll most likely lose some skin where the straps contact my hip bones.

My straps are retained by folding a 2″ section over and drenching the fold with CA glue. It welds them together and creates a tab that gets trapped behind the hip belt keeper.

I tested it for strength by doing a Tom Cruise from the pull-up bar in my home gym with 240lbs counting myself and my pack and it was rock solid.

If it does not work out, as I anticipate it’s an easy matter to revert to the more traditional tie in method.