/ Pegs for the Alps
I've read lots of alpine route descriptions that recommend having a hammer and a few pegs for when it all goes horribly wrong. And since some of these are descriptions of routes I intend to do, I'm contemplating acquiring a hammer and a few pegs.
Worth it? And if so, which pegs? Andy K seems to be in favour of beak-style thingies (Peckers, Tomahawks) if you actually plan to use them, but I don't. I'm thinking definitely a couple of knifeblades - they're light and definitely a better bet than abbing off RPs in a thin crack. Anything else? I'm wondering if I should be able to get a wire or a small cam in most places that would take say a leeper or an angle.
(Salewa do a nice looking hammer: cheapish, not too heavy, and has a little pick on it that looks like it might be better than nothing for self-arrest. Steep snow at the bottom of routes in approach shoes being another thing I'm not in favour of)
Piton choice will depend somewhat on the rock type. Take more angles and lost arrows for granite (wider, parallel cracks). Softer metal knife-blades work best for chossy limestone.
Salewa hammer works fine for placing a few pegs and is not too heavy. The handle does bend in a worrying manner when pulling out pitons, but mine did not break so far. I have also used it as a mini ice-axe (dagger position) when crossing snow fields but I would not rely on it for serious self arrest.
If your party will use two different hammers, than the follower should use the heavier one.
Hope this helps.
Thanks for the advice, most helpful
Don't worry, on routes that need an axe I'll take an axe. I was just thinking of little bits on unexpected neve at the bottom of rock routes. (There'll probably be a lot of those in the Dolomites this summer given the winter they've had)
For "just in case" purposes I took four pegs, a thin blade, a thick blade (Lost Arrow), a small angle (1cm) and a thicker one (3/4 inch) all in high tensile steel - Chouinard or Clog. A Leeper could replace the small angle if you prefer. Often an N wall hammer can replace an ice-axe and a peg hammer. This would be on routes where no great difficulty was expected.
Suppose it depends on route, area and grade and how old your guidebooks are?
In popular routes and areas, I've never bothered carrying pegs since the late 1980's but haven't climbed in the Dolomites recently!
There's nothing quite like the feeling of thwacking in a peg! I'm not sure I'm meant to admit to that, the ethics police will probably show up soon...
Assuming you want a slack handful for general use rather than a rack for a particular route, I would suggest; a small blade, medium blade, an angle and a leeper.
Generally on easier routes you probably won't need them, or they'll be in-situ, but I might carry a medium blade and an angle. On something more serious you might want to carry them all.
I haven't carried pegs for many years either.
I suspect modern micro cams make them obsolete in most areas in summer.
If your climbing in the dollies your wasting.time and weight
I was under the impression away from the honeypot routes in the dollies pitons can still be advisable especially on the limestone. (rather than dolomite) routes.. I would personally definitely take micro cams down to around 8.5 mm, and the two smallest sizes of ballnut either way as they weigh so little but can be the only gear you get in.
Yep, it was specifically Marmolada South Face routes I was thinking of. Although Don Quixote probably counts as "honeypot"
As the sort of use that would be made of the pegs mentioned here is either backing off when lost leading a route or retreating by abseil I wonder how many would feel happy doing this off a small nut rather than a peg, especially on limestone? I don't think I would. It's usually easier to find a crack that would take a good peg than one that would take a sound nut... and that's in good conditions, in the wet or with ice and snow about my preference would be even more for a peg.
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