I wouldn't want to argue with a guide, but my experience in Scotland and else where of both Warthogs and "ice" hooks is quite different. I used to climb a lot in the Southern Highlands and Arrochar and there everyone took and used warthogs regularly (pre-ice hook era). We generally carried two. Now these days it seems hooks are deemed to be a replacement - although it seems there is no empirical research and precious little anecdotal evidence as to whether they are better, worse, or the same as warthogs in frozen turf. But I remember belaying off a warthog on the Cobbler when all else I could find was a small and not very deep knifeblade (my partner decided to take a factor two fall onto the belay leading the next pitch, so that belay will be imprinted into my memory for the rest of my life), and many times using them when you arrive on the top of a cliff where you are suddenly in a flat, frozen field with nothing to belay off - Udlaidh, Beinn an Lochain, Lochnagar being good examples.
You have to be really desperate to put ice hooks in ice - I've done it but generally it strikes me as too much hassle. But for turf - and something else the article doesn't mention - using them in rock - they are really good. For rock obviously you can use them as giant sky hooks if nothing else is going to work, but they can be placed in lost arrow size cracks as well very securely.
Hammered nuts / hexes ? I know we have all done it but I recon winter climbers should regard hammed pro in the same light as pegs i.e. gear of last resort not to be used on rock routes etc etc.
As for warthogs I’ve still got 2 on my rack but I much prefer a hook . just seems much stronger to me. even got a bomber one in turf last year that I would have happily fallen on (well as happily as you can fall in winter!) I recon a warthog could pull out if it pulls through the turf past 90 degrees where as a hook is stuck at the optimum angle.
In reply to Burnsie: When my mate fell off I was pulled along a ledge (he had traversed a metre or so along the ledge to an arete and then was climbing up that when he came of, so the pull on the belay was lateral rather than downward, but anyways - there was an inch rip in the turf where the warthog had been pulled, but the eye was still snug against the grass, i.e. fully in. Quite convincing.
Ice hooks are actually pretty crap in ice, and only good in the sense that an RP2 is good (narrow ice chocked cracks/weird ice moves where you want a fast top runner), but they work much better in turf, and due to their hooking design 'should' have a higher pull strength ( a warthog will rotate under load , or bend, then pull out, were as a hook has to be pulled through the mass of turf). The hook is also equally good on rock, especially if placed lightly (no hammered to hard as you'll never get it out again!), and often comes in handy in weird places, like hooked onto chockstones where you can't dig away the snow behind it (I even once stacked a hook in a horizontal crack with a large rock of the non Wild Country variety).
Basically a hook is just another tool in the winter armoury, one that I tend to think works well on UK routes.
One point about hooks on rock, it's probaby better if climbers who like it in this mode try out the number 3 Black Diamond Pecker - which is a great winter peg.
The article was not really meant for the likes of you. If it had not said that the author was a “fully qualified UK Mountaineering Instructor (MIC)”, I would have thought he had just attended a basic mountaineering course.
PS If you have a few spare No 3 Black Diamond Pecker’s you could send them to me, so I can try them out this winter.
> but they work much better in turf, and due to their hooking design 'should' have a higher pull strength ( a warthog will rotate under load , or bend, then pull out, were as a hook has to be pulled through the mass of turf).
Do you actually know this Andy, or is it an educated guess? I see the logic, but for example you could argue that a warthog is thicker so less likely to rip through turf than a narrow blade of a bulldog. I'm really interested as it seems there has basically been no research done on this, in comparison to a reasonably amount of research that has now been done on ice screws (and other gear) used on water ice.
I tested a Bulldog and a M tech Warthog about 10 years ago with a funkness device (bit of wire to you and me) for a article I wrote for Climber (the 1st article I ever wrote for a UK mag I think?), and shock loading the warthog would cause it to rotate upwards until it slipped out of the slot, where as the hook would just create a longer slot (bit like a deadman digging in, while a snow state pulls out).
I once saw a film of some hook like thing that tanks could fire out when they got stuck that worked in the same sort of way, pulling themselves rather than out, but I'm sure if you took a big lob you'd just pull a big lump of turf out unless it was super solid.
Also Norrie I wasn't criticizing the article, just trying to point out that Hooks are a vital piece of winter gear, as people reading the comments might think otherwise.
In reply to Burnsie: agree about hooks being much better than warthogs, you also need substantially deeper turf for a warthog than a hook and hooks can also be used for rock features. Warthogs are also a bitch to take out for the second and can use up valuable energy. i never bother carrying warthogs anymore
works similar to a deadman, but designed for placement in soil. I use them for rock netting on railway cuttings etc.
They do some small ones, that amongst other things are used as security devices to stop people stealing expensive plants etc. I'm not sure how you'd go about installing one on a climb though.... typically installed using a hydraulic breaker..... (compressor route anyone...)
In reply to Burnsie: have you got the newer style hooks with the wee hammering bit which sticks out? the older style BD spectres didnt have that and where a TOTAL bitch.
prob with warties is that you have to screw them out using yer axe if its a good placement, doing this in extremis is pergatory
> Also Norrie I wasn't criticizing the article, just trying to point out that Hooks are a vital piece of winter gear, as people reading the comments might think otherwise.
I never said you did. I was pointing out that the article was very basic. I too think hooks/Bulldogs are essential in Scottish winter climbing and a well placed one is more than 'psychological value only". I was convinced about their quality when I did a route with Erik B, it was the best placed piece of protection I've seen on a winter route.
As for Deadmen, with a bit of thought, it can be use not only in snow.
In reply to Dan Goodwin: I was thinking about it... I guess you could use the wire as a long extender or for threads. Not sure how strong they are but you could probably stick the plate behind flakes and stuff or use it as a sort of superwide chock. Use them as ballast for keeping slings on dodgy spikes...
> (In reply to Burnsie)
> How many do you guys normally carry?
> I thought one was more than enough, unless you are on a inter only turfy monstrosity, when 2 would be nessessary.
I placed a clump of three tied together in an exfoliating flake-flower on the back of Beinn Fhada in Kintail where nothing else would have worked and still had two left for the turf above. Five is a bit excessive in other areas though.
I recall they came in quite handy on a trip to the Valais where some cracks were just too weird for wires and to wide for pegs.
Bulldogs, and even fifis feel safer on ice and certain turf but I do like the solid feel of a well-seated warthog. Just be aware of the amount of leverage that they can exert when using them in cracks.
kentoncool20 Dec 2007
In reply to Mick Ryan - Editor - UKC:
Wart hogs are a MUST on chalk cliffs. I spent a lot of time climbing chalk when I was London based. Took a 50footer onto one once and it held no problems I really can't think that a hook would have held in that situation!!!
Used them a lot in Scotland and a number of times been very happy to have them on a rack
In reply to Mick Ryan - Editor - UKC:
With these new fangled hooky things now being the in thing does it mean that the box of Crack n Ups that I have will see a come back? did once take a small leader fall onto one which much to my surprise held!