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VIDEO DEBATE: Ice climbing is NOT rock climbing

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In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: Oh my god....
 CurlyStevo 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:
shit just about on easy ground at the top by the looks of things to. IMO he'd have been better placing a screw from the ice bulge before the last steepening and climbing through the steep section to the next rest.

BTW i notice article advocating cipping the pommel, I thought most axes were not designed for the pommel to have the rope run though it.

Out of interest who's actually clipped an axe due to pump before. I've never done this myself, however I have been in the position that a screw wouldn't get a good placement in shite ice and had to give up before I got pumped and climb on! It was on alladins mirror direct which had formed quite steep that year with no rests on the sustained section. I'd placed screws from a resting position but had realised I was in broken angle teritory so wanted another screw.

I think it's easy to get in to the same teritory on steep trad too, in that there is gear but sometimes it's safer to climb another meter or two despite added risk before stopping and placing another piece.
 Nick Harvey 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:
Been reading that - excellent critique by Will, should be compulsory reading/viewing for all ice climbers!
 mdh 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Interesting that according to Will Gadd he was using a belay plate not designed for belaying lead climbers. Makes you wonder if that was advised in the shop?
In reply to mdh:

> Interesting that according to Will Gadd he was using a belay plate not designed for belaying lead climbers. Makes you wonder if that was advised in the shop?

They are also double clipping ropes into basic, old fashioned krabs, with fat tapes on them. Obviously this doesn't cause a problem in this case, but I wondered why not buy modern krabs and tapes - at least in Europe the price is hardly any different. I have seen other US climbers using the old fashioned D-krabs (I think BD still make them), so perhaps they really are cheap over there.
 Jamie B 24 Mar 2011
In reply to mdh:

You can lead belay with a GiGi (and hold a fall, as proven here), but it would be a bit jerky and make a dynamic catch difficult. And definately not recommened by the manufacturers!

Also interested by the open buckle on what I think is a Bod harness. Was this an oversight or could it have been caused by the force of the fall?

Very frustrating that the climber had a "chicken rope" in front of him but couldnt clip it. Would a cows-tail or leashless system have made this easier?
 Jamie B 24 Mar 2011
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> ...on Alladins Mirror Direct which formed quite steep that year with no rests on the sustained section. I'd placed screws from a resting position but had realised I was in broken ankle teritory so wanted another screw.

Which can lead to a pretty horrible trade-off where it feels like it will be more reassuring to stop (in a pumpy position) and place gear, but in fact there may be greater safety in keeping moving (and running it out).
 Euge 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: Interesting what he says about "CLIP INTO YOUR TOOL and put a screw in"

My Brother is a guide in the States and climbs quite a lot of steep ice and he rests quite a lot on his tools rather than getting pumped. He is also of the mind that falling is not an option... I argued that that is cheating...

He told me this after I took a fall and was left hanging on my Quarks by my bungy cord...

I prefer to run the rope over the tool as a temp runner or place a bulldog as a temp runner...

But interesting...

E

 karinh 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Does ANYONE in this country climb anywhere near 150 x 30m pitches (laps)on top rope / second before they start leading on ice?
In reply to karinh:

> Does ANYONE in this country climb anywhere near 150 x 30m pitches (laps)on top rope / second before they start leading on ice?

But he was leading NEI 4+. I haven't done the route, but NEI grades are renowned for being stiff. So it would be a bit like trying to lead a Rjukan WI 5 early in your career as an ice climber I suppose. There was a video of someone falling off one of them on here a couple of winters back - probably similar sorts of mistakes...
 3leggeddog 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Euge:

Running the rope over the top of a tool with a freshly sharpened pick?

Clipping directly to the tool and weighting it, A0 but nothing to be ashamed of. It means you climb tomorrow rather than stay at home licking your wounds.

It used to be fairly common practice to clip the rope to your tool whilst placing a screw, seems to be out of fashion now.

I have not dared to watch the video, just read Will's post, had I found myself in the dire straits described, I would have clipped my tool.
 Jamie B 24 Mar 2011
In reply to karinh:

> Does ANYONE in this country climb anywhere near 150 x 30m pitches (laps)on top rope / second before they start leading on ice?

Probably not, although I do know someone who reckoned he seconded over 200 rock routes before he got on the sharp end. He's now lead E7 and grade IX, so it obviously didnt do him any harm...

In reply to karinh: Totally agree! It was a bit of an odd statment to make. Fine if you are a pro, full-time climber, not fine if like most of us, you balance climbing with job, sleep, family, relationships, skiing, other sports.
 Monk 24 Mar 2011
In reply to karinh:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
>
> Does ANYONE in this country climb anywhere near 150 x 30m pitches (laps)on top rope / second before they start leading on ice?

Definitely not. My first ice route was on the lead! I do think that a traditional 'leader does not fall' attitude, a background of winter mountain walking/mountaineering and being competent on rock help though. Basically, I was familiar with cold and snow, knew about rope work and gear, and had the fitness and basic movement technique in hand to be able to climb, leaving me to concentrate on placing my picks well and adapting my techniques. I'm not claiming to be an expert (no where near!), but do think that level of experience is uncalled for.
 DanielJ 24 Mar 2011
In reply to karinh:
> Does ANYONE in this country climb anywhere near 150 x 30m pitches (laps)on top rope / second before they start leading on ice?

I guess not and that´s why the majority of Brits arriving in Rjukan are climbing like shite. Every time I´m there there´s always stories of brits falling, and not only on steep ground, more commonly on WI3-4.
To me it seems to be somewhat of a cultural thing where it´s shameful, unethical, unmanly and god knows what to toprope. Of course it´s hard to get mileage if you dont live nearby easy acess ice but at the actual venues a change in mindset would probably be good.

Gadd for sure knows what he´s talking about. Start your next trip in Rjukan or your icedestination of choice with a couple of days toproping (or following experienced partners) not just one short route in Krokan.

Regarding the video I´m quite surprised that the falling climber didn´t hurt himself with his leashed axes. Or maybe it was one of them he got in his face? Leashes are 100% faff and doesnt belong in iceclimbing since many years back.

In reply to nickinscottishmountains: Isn't Gadd's point that after doing that sort of mileage you start to understand ice? If I remember what he wrote correctly, I agree. For example compression and contraction in water ice makes a huge difference to how secure a stick is, and this only becomes more so as the temperatures get lower. We could explain to newbies why this is, but I think it takes most people hitting a boss a few times and watching big dinners plates slide off to see what I really mean.

I had climbed most winter weekends in Scotland for four years before I moved to Finland; we went from grade I beginners to climbing V,6 relatively consistently in our last year at uni. But when I came to Finland I quickly realised I knew jack-shit about water ice. Weather patterns and changes in gear and fashions means that it seems there has been more water ice to climb in the UK in recent winters, but still British winter climbing isn't necessarily the best prep for doing pure ice routes either. I'm realising ice can be oddly different in different places.
In reply to DanielJ:
> Or maybe it was one of them he got in his face? Leashes are 100% faff and doesnt belong in iceclimbing since many years back.

I think that people are falling off icefalls more now due to leashless tools. Doesn't make leashless bad, but I've seen strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that's the case.
 don macb 24 Mar 2011
In reply to 3leggeddog:
> (In reply to Euge)
>
> Running the rope over the top of a tool with a freshly sharpened pick?
>

i assumed the idea was to run the rope over the pinky rest/pommel...
 Euge 24 Mar 2011
In reply to don macb:
> (In reply to 3leggeddog)
> [...]
>
> i assumed the idea was to run the rope over the pinky rest/pommel...

No... over the head of the axe!!
 don macb 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Euge:

aye? neither suggestion appeals much, i have to say...
 Jamie B 24 Mar 2011
In reply to DanielJ:

> Leashes are 100% faff and dont belong in iceclimbing since many years back.

Broadly I agree, but I wouldnt see this as an absolute; plenty of good climbers are still using them.

I dont use mine (in Scotland) anymore, but have held onto them partly in case I ever find myself on steep cascade ice. I do think there is a trade-off between greater support with them, and greater ease of shake-out/gear placement without.

 Nick Harvey 24 Mar 2011
In reply to TobyA:
This is the first year i have got my leashless sh*t together properly so that i am comfortable leashless at my max level of leading. Not sure if it requires extra strength, more dedication to shaking out or just climbing more fluidly. But up until this year i would have said i was more likely to fall without leashes, this year definatley less likely. The point is there is definitely a transition needed, its not just a case of 'ditch the leashes'.

Will be sending you a link to our new Lyngen guideblog soon!
In reply to Nick Harvey:
> The point is there is definitely a transition needed, its not just a case of 'ditch the leashes'.

Fair point, but after using both styles for quite a few years I still reckon some people's physical make up favours one style over the other - hence my now rather boring comparison that I can hang off a jam much longer than I can off a perfect jug, but maybe that's just me.

> Will be sending you a link to our new Lyngen guideblog soon!

Excellent - look forward to it. Your big ascents north and west of Furuflatten make me want to go back up there again and do them as well!

 Nick Harvey 24 Mar 2011
In reply to TobyA:
True, and in my case if i hang off a leash too long my hand just goes dead!

There is silly amounts of ice there. Makes you wonder what else is just out of sight hidden up other valleys. Need to hire a 'copter really!
 Euge 24 Mar 2011
In reply to don macb:
> (In reply to Euge)
>
> aye? neither suggestion appeals much, i have to say...

It works to protect against a slip when placing a screw... much better than having a long runnout
In reply to Euge: Agreed, it is something I have always done as the act of placing a screw exerts an outward force that can feel as though it's pushing you off. I think it's just plain common sense. Not if the edge of the axe is sharp of course.

Al
 don macb 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Euge:
> (In reply to don macb)
> [...]
>
> It works to protect against a slip when placing a screw... much better than having a long runnout

well i understand the appeal/benefit of clipping to an axe while faffing, but i couldn't quite imagine doing so with rope and it feeling too good in practice, especially over the top of the axe for some reason. i think i'd favour any force to be exerted low on the shaft in the hope of further securing the placement, were i to weight the axe in the event of a slip.

i think the reason it struck me that the handle would be the spot to pop the rope was also lingering in my mind having seen one of the other climbers who came to assist (in the following meet up debriefing section with no audio) slipping a wiregate from his tail over the pinky rest. this had never occurred to me as a method and my old style quarks won't take a 'biner on the spike unless i add some cord... i'd wondered if this might be of use in moments of terror when i spotted him doing it. i think i'll opt for putting some cord on the quarks though since i now routinely wear a tail for quick clipping wether on trad' or winter routes anyway...

after all- it was reaching for the rope once already in trouble that finished our hero off in the video. reaching for a tail already on the belay loop would mess less with a pumped climber's balance when teetering.

anyway- as ever, i've wandered off on a tangent
 nniff 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

There was a thread going about daisy chains the other day - one part of that is a fifi hook (and a krab) on a cow's tail. I have used this to sit down on a well-placed axe when I was having a bad day: all out of sorts, steep route, over-gripping and getting very pumped - clip in, sit down, place a screw, shake out and have a stern word with self and carry on once normal service had been resumed.

Getting into trouble is bound to happen from time to time, but the important thing is extracting yourself from it without too much upset.
In reply to 3leggeddog:
> (In reply to Euge)
>
> Running the rope over the top of a tool with a freshly sharpened pick?
>

like this?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fawksey1/5555323283/
 Ron Walker 24 Mar 2011
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
>
> Out of interest who's actually clipped an axe due to pump before. I've never done this myself, however I have been in the position that a screw wouldn't get a good placement in shite ice and had to give up before I got pumped and climb on!

I've had to do it when my hands got so pumped that I lost all control and feeling. You have to do it when you are still in control and have at least one good axe placement though! In the past I could just hang off the leashes until I recovered a bit, but with leashes axes you would just fall off and likely end your climbing career!!
A good post and link to Will Gadd's not falling off comments and the video BTW
 DanielJ 24 Mar 2011
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to DanielJ)
> I think that people are falling off icefalls more now due to leashless tools. Doesn't make leashless bad, but I've seen strong anecdotal evidence to suggest that's the case.

I totally agree that, in numbers, more people are falling off icefalls. Is it due to the leashless tools?

Yes, in my opinion, but not in the way I think you mean. (How do you mean btw?)

Leashless climbing= more fun and less faff= more iceclimber=more falls. Overall I think that with the "new" equipment more sportclimbers for example are entering iceclimbing. I know that I for sure wouldnt climb ice if the equipment and faff-factor was as in the 90-ties. In that way maybe people are coming into iceclimbing with a "rock" mindset where falling isn´t a big deal?

I´m however convinced that it´s due to the simple fact that either people dont want to do their apprenticeship or they feel they dont have the time. They want to start leading and pushing grades fast. There is no glory in toproping...

 DanielJ 24 Mar 2011
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> BTW i notice article advocating cipping the pommel, I thought most axes were not designed for the pommel to have the rope run though it.
> Out of interest who's actually clipped an axe due to pump before.

Hanging from the pommel on the Nomic isnt a problem, falling on it might be.

On me and a friend Johns last climb the ice was so aireated (sp?) that we only trusted our two 22cm screws. John clipped his shortish cow tail to the axe every time he put a screw in and when he got pumped he rather hanged from the axe than on a shitty 16cm screw. Probably not very rational but it felt better.
On long routes I´m climbing with spring leashes so I just clip the cord loop sometimes for extra safety when I´m putting screws in.

I guess this sort of things are more common when climbing long routes?
 Euge 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Fawksey:
> (In reply to 3leggeddog)
> [...]
>
> like this?
>
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/fawksey1/5555323283/

Yup... that's what I meant...
 Monk 24 Mar 2011
In reply to DanielJ:

> (In reply to TobyA)

>
> I´m however convinced that it´s due to the simple fact that either people dont want to do their apprenticeship or they feel they dont have the time. They want to start leading and pushing grades fast. There is no glory in toproping...

There is obviously the issue of who puts up the top-ropes if you aren't with a more experienced partner, but equally ice climbing is now accessible to more of us so even if the percentage of falls is no different, there will be a higher number of falls occurring. It may be that people are more gung-ho, having been brought up at walls and bolted crags though. I have certainly witnessed this a little bit, but I am not convinced it is the whole story.

I agree that an apprenticeship is required, but why should that be top-roping? People don't top-rope to learn to winter climb in Scotland or the alps, so why should they on ice? There is a long history of people getting out there and doing it, learning as they go.

Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, with the increasing number of lemming-like Brits falling off everywhere, has there actually been a large number of serious injuries? Obviously ice is an unpredictable medium, but is falling on good, fat ice as dangerous as we assume?
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Was it just me or at the moment before he falls off neither of his axes are in the ice. The left one is hanging as he is holding onto the rope and the right one is hanging as he reaches between his legs.

So in reality all it was was a right foot blow out and we have all had those.

I'm far from an expert with only one ice climbing trip to Rjukan under my belt but surely three points of contact are a must and ice axes are useless hanging on their wrist loops.

And yes I was one of "Those Brits" turning up with zero ice experiance thinging I could lead on ice in good style. In reality that was far from the true outcome.

SDB

SDB
Paul035 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Fawksey:

Never done it.. but I guess another advantage to the main one of the security it gives whilst you place a screw, is it makes it far easier to clip the screw once you've got it in, as uve already got enough rope out..
 DanielJ 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Monk:
> (In reply to DanielJ)

> I agree that an apprenticeship is required, but why should that be top-roping? People don't top-rope to learn to winter climb in Scotland or the alps, so why should they on ice? There is a long history of people getting out there and doing it, learning as they go.

It´s a way to fasttrack things. Toproping in the alps sounds kind of difficult and in Scotland I guess someone would cut them down? On ice it´s often easy to set up from above or lead something easy and then toprope something harder.

But of course it´s better if you have an experienced partner who can and want to show you the ropes. And if you´re young or have lots of time you could for sure go the traditional way. Most people who have some climbing background have no bigger problem following/toproping WI5 but to lead it with style requires practice. At least if you want to be able to climb steep ice in relative short time in a safe manner, I think vertical toproping combined with easy leading and moderate/steep seconding is the way to go. If you dont mind sketching around and you aint afraid of breaking your ankles then I guess leading only is perfect for you.


> Just to play devil's advocate for a moment, with the increasing number of lemming-like Brits falling off everywhere, has there actually been a large number of serious injuries? Obviously ice is an unpredictable medium, but is falling on good, fat ice as dangerous as we assume?

As far as I know it´s not common for icescrews to blow, if we´re talking iceclimbing on cascades. The danger lies in the ledges and the things you hit on the way down, with double ropes, stretch and some distance between the screws, falls are often 10-20meters. Apart from a lot of sprained and broken ankles I dont think there has been a dramatic increase in injuries.
 Erik B 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: that video is not about a fall, its about the fecked up way climbing has gone as a sport. I mean FFS imagine continuing to film your mate when hes minced on the deck?! utterly utterly bizarre and disturbing

as for the debate on here about wether the pommel is designed to cope with clipping! jaysus H! anything goes in the heat of battle and yer necks on the line! oh, the manual says I shouldnt clip it, i better not.....arrrrrggghh!!! booooooomf! deck hit
In reply to Erik B:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux) that video is not about a fall, its about the fecked up way climbing has gone as a sport. I mean FFS imagine continuing to film your mate when hes minced on the deck?! utterly utterly bizarre and disturbing

Not sure that it is a reflection on climbing, more on our media, u tube, facebook culture.

>
> as for the debate on here about wether the pommel is designed to cope with clipping! jaysus H! anything goes in the heat of battle and yer necks on the line! oh, the manual says I shouldnt clip it, i better not.....arrrrrggghh!!! booooooomf! deck hit

Agreed

But I think Will's comments are valid. We do tend to "thug" our way up ice early on in the experience and I think we should learn better technique.

The most important point, imho, is don't climb on into the "pump", take a rest.

In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

Actually, the most important point is "don't fall".
In reply to Erik B: I totally agree. There is far too much emphasis given to manuals and certificates and technical data and too little to common sense these days.

Al
 nniff 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Erik B:

Indeed - I was watching a mate climb with a borrowed pair of leashless axes. It was beginning to look shaky and so I asked if he knew that he could flip the rope over the pommel and grab a breather. 10 seconds later, he was sitting on his axe - which wasn't rated for such manouevres, but his body wasn't crash tested for the fall either.
In reply to DanielJ:

> It´s a way to fasttrack things. Toproping in the alps sounds kind of difficult and in Scotland I guess someone would cut them down? On ice it´s often easy to set up from above or lead something easy and then toprope something harder.

It's more the case that in the UK there are very few suitable venues for top roping ice. Here in Finland (maybe in Sweden too?) you just wander around the side of single pitch crag and chuck a rope down - but there are few places in Britain with ice where you can do that. In exceptional conditions maybe, but ice tends to be a limited commodity and people will get upset if you monopolise routes with a top rope.
In reply to Monk:

> I agree that an apprenticeship is required, but why should that be top-roping?

It's inherent to ice climbing that to some degree you break the ice - you are hitting it after all. Learning how to minimise that takes experience and obviously that's easier to gain safely on TR. Seconding of course also is the same, but your likely just to get more climbing time TRing.

I do think though you can over estimate what you learn on a rope from above because so much of ice leading is to do with organisation and mental readiness.
 Nick Harvey 24 Mar 2011
In reply to DanielJ:
...the ice was so aireated (sp?) that we only trusted our two 22cm screws.

Another point from Mr Gadd that's worth a read: http://gravsports.blogspot.com/2011/01/new-years-tips-for-ice-ability-gains.html

Though, if the full depth of ice is aerated then i guess a long screw with the head high may be the best bet?
 Monk 24 Mar 2011
In reply to DanielJ:
> (In reply to Monk)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>


> But of course it´s better if you have an experienced partner who can and want to show you the ropes. And if you´re young or have lots of time you could for sure go the traditional way. Most people who have some climbing background have no bigger problem following/toproping WI5 but to lead it with style requires practice. At least if you want to be able to climb steep ice in relative short time in a safe manner, I think vertical toproping combined with easy leading and moderate/steep seconding is the way to go. If you dont mind sketching around and you aint afraid of breaking your ankles then I guess leading only is perfect for you.
>

Okay, I see where you are coming from here. I think that we probably actually agree. In fact, my own experience is pretty much how you describe - easy leading, progressing through the grades, and seconding the odd harder climb. You are right - with a little fitness WI5 isn't very hard to follow but stopping on lead to place screws is a different matter. I guess my point was that there is nothing wrong with learning as you go by leading, as in a traditional apprenticeship. I agree that top-roping harder stuff will give a faster progression to the higher grades.


> [...]
>
> As far as I know it´s not common for icescrews to blow, if we´re talking iceclimbing on cascades. The danger lies in the ledges and the things you hit on the way down, with double ropes, stretch and some distance between the screws, falls are often 10-20meters. Apart from a lot of sprained and broken ankles I dont think there has been a dramatic increase in injuries.

I have to say that this is my feeling too. Falls are not going to be clean, as on steep rock, but anecdotal evidence appears to suggest that Will Gadd's prophecy of doom regarding falling on ice could be over-conservative? Similar to the old school UK climbers frowning on the 80's upstarts taking huge whippers, perhaps?
 CurlyStevo 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Erik B:
"as for the debate on here about wether the pommel is designed to cope with clipping! jaysus H"

there is a significant difference between what your do as an absolute last resort and the practices you should aim to use before that time arrives, which should aim to minimise the chances of something going wrong.

Also the pomel may well hold single body weight such as when you clip a runner from you to it, but double body weight of running the rope over it is more chancy, and having a slackish rope drooped over it and then falling off on to it even more so.
 Monk 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Monk:

> I have to say that this is my feeling too. Falls are not going to be clean, as on steep rock, but anecdotal evidence appears to suggest that Will Gadd's prophecy of doom regarding falling on ice could be over-conservative? Similar to the old school UK climbers frowning on the 80's upstarts taking huge whippers, perhaps?

I have just re-read this, and thought I had better state that this is purely idle musing. I am not suggesting that people should be hurling themselves off cascades with gay abandon.
In reply to Monk:
> (In reply to Monk)
>
> [...]
>
> I have just re-read this, and thought I had better state that this is purely idle musing. I am not suggesting that people should be hurling themselves off cascades with gay abandon.

I'm glad you qualified this but the point of Will's blog is that it simply isn't ok to consider ice climbing in the same way as rock climbing.

You have to decide if you agree with that or not.
 Monk 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:
> (In reply to Monk)
> [...]
>
> I'm glad you qualified this but the point of Will's blog is that it simply isn't ok to consider ice climbing in the same way as rock climbing.
>
> You have to decide if you agree with that or not.

I do agree. I would say on ice that a 'leader does not fall' approach is best practice. To be honest though, this is pretty much how I approach most of my climbing on trad-protected rock too. Despite this I have still taken a few falls, though.
 Erik B 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Monk: I think the issue with the fall in question is that the single pitch ice climbing as is often found abroad instills a different attitude, I can guarantee if Nathans mate had a pish belay and was 3 pitches up he would not have fallen!
 CurlyStevo 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Monk:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
> [...]
>
> I do agree. I would say on ice that a 'leader does not fall' approach is best practice. To be honest though, this is pretty much how I approach most of my climbing on trad-protected rock too. Despite this I have still taken a few falls, though.

I dunno, as of yet I've never climbed in to territory I wasn't confident I could lead on ice, whilst on rock some good gear has pushed me on.

I think grade IV ice is about as hard technically as Severe mountain rock climbing (given a bit of moss, seepage, loose rock etc).
Jeffrey Butler 24 Mar 2011
Really glad to see this elevated level of discussion here. Quite frankly, I'm impressed. You guys are talking about the right stuff. Not fully the case in other places.

Quick thought about continuing to roll tape. By not rolling I have no purpose and would only get in the way. There were many more people, ok everyone there, more qualified to assist. My contribution was to roll as much as I could before ejecting...I'm there as the camera man so long as it's clear that's all I need to be.

Thanks guys...this thread is a good read.
Jeff; the video guy.
 DanielJ 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Nick Harvey:

Yeah I read that as well.
However the few encounters I´ve had with hard ice kind of contradicts it. Maybe if you´ve got super endurance and basically cant get pumped holding on to the jug-like handle of the Nomic or Fusion his assumption is right. (or if you climb solid and blue ice where placements are easy)
I guess that his point is that if you cant hang from your tool long enough to clean enough for good placements you have nothing to do on the route?

The amount of cleaning needed for solid ice on some vertical routes are just plain impossible, for me that is. On our last long route we brought 12 screws of which 4 where 13cm and 4 16cm. Big mistake. I´ve found that a healthy mix of 13 and 19 with a couple of 22s is the way to go for me. 16 is just a bad compromise, not long enough to be reassuring and not superlight and superfast either.

 Monk 24 Mar 2011
In reply to CurlyStevo:
> (In reply to Monk)
> [...]
>
> I dunno, as of yet I've never climbed in to territory I wasn't confident I could lead on ice, whilst on rock some good gear has pushed me on.
>
> I think grade IV ice is about as hard technically as Severe mountain rock climbing (given a bit of moss, seepage, loose rock etc).


That's a fair point. I think everything is relative: When pushing it out on trad, the distance I am willing to push out depends on many things, including the quality of the gear, anything I will hit on the way down and the distance to the next gear/rest. I would say the same applies on ice BUT the 'good gear' part of the equation may be a 19cm screw by my waist compared to a decent nut just below my feet on rock, for example. It's the same equation but different margins.

My opinion is probably warped though. Firstly, I'm more of a summer climber than a winter climber. Secondly, I've only climbed up to WI5 ice, and basically there's always a hold if you have the strength to place an axe, hold on and use it. Some of the grade 6 and 7 territory looks a little different. Thirdly, I am quite a cautious calculating climber, so assess risks constantly. If I was more hot-headed maybe I would be climbing myself into trouble far more often.
 Erik B 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Jeffrey Butler: a true warrior for your art. maybes you should offer your services to CNN and film the, soon to be WWWIII, in the middle east?

or maybe you could sell the clip of wee Nathan takin a wee prang to CNN?

 Erik B 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Erik B: wwwIII, feck me ive got websites on my brain. viva the old school!
 DanielJ 24 Mar 2011
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to DanielJ)
> It's more the case that in the UK there are very few suitable venues for top roping ice. Here in Finland (maybe in Sweden too?) you just wander around the side of single pitch crag and chuck a rope down - but there are few places in Britain with ice where you can do that. In exceptional conditions maybe, but ice tends to be a limited commodity and people will get upset if you monopolise routes with a top rope.

I get that and it´s a fair point. With the last two superb winters in southern Sweden I think more people have started to climb ice - more traffic and more toproping. In some of the fat areas this is not a problem whatsoever but on some more fragile things it´s very much debatable.

But that doesnt change the fact that people frown upon toproping when travelling to, for example, Rjukan. I would strongly recommend people to toprope or follow for at least a couple of full days before leading. (A friend of mine, pretty exp. rockclimber and E-something leader, took a grounder here outside Gothenburg cause he was so horny for leading)
It´s easy to rush things cause ice is so physically easy to climb compared to high rockgrades!
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: Phew...I went to Cogne last year and while I was there, one Brit got killed and another ended up in hospital, badly injured. They were avalanched off a s/w facing route in the 'warm' of an early afternoon. The local guides were furious, they had to spend several hours doing the rescue under very unstable ice.

It was basic moutaincraft, and I'm not proud of myself here either. Our crew were about 200 metres away on the same side. Sometimes you get lucky...and sometimes

It's March now and the season is over, however, put a note in your diary (I'll put one in mine)to put this up again next November...and every November. It just might keep us all a bit more sober with our ambitions. There was one post a while back about ice climbing and it said 'climbing is not a falling off sport'; this I keep absolute forefront in my mind when I'm in the chilly season.

More getting killed and injured. This is an issue not just for ice climbing but Alpine climbing and off piste ski-ing in general and my call is simply that it is now easily accessible for almost anyone. You go ski-ing, see the ski sunday adventure section or an 'extreme sport programme', head to the shops and buy gear that is relative to incomes actually cheap.Find the guidebook, look for the hardest route (cos you do 6a on a wall) and away you go. You get there, (low cost airline), you've got two weeks and you want to perform!!

I am older and in the 70's and 80's, gear was (income relative) eye wateringly expensive, information was scarce, no internet, no cheap flights and getting a car to Chamonix and back without breakdown etc would have been a miracle. People therefore relied on 'who they knew had been there'. They would have been to Scotland or Wales and got in the odd pickle there, that all provided experience/apprenticeship whatever you want to call it.

There are of course a whole slew of generalisations here, and I for one am not advocating 'the good old days' (they weren't). They do however use a phrase in Aosta (well the people I talk to do). You can go the Mountains when they are ready for you and not when you are ready for them. The common feeling is that the pressure to perform in your 'holiday slot' sometimes overwhelms sense, add lots of people and you will get more accidents, just by the statistics.

20,000 attempt Mont Blanc every year and 300 on average die in the massif area.

In reply to Erik B:
> (In reply to Monk) I think the issue with the fall in question is that the single pitch ice climbing as is often found abroad instills a different attitude, I can guarantee if Nathans mate had a pish belay and was 3 pitches up he would not have fallen!

A prayer to god sometimes helps too.................

Stuart
 Ander 24 Mar 2011
In reply to karinh:
> (In reply to Minneconjou Sioux)
>
> Does ANYONE in this country climb anywhere near 150 x 30m pitches (laps)on top rope / second before they start leading on ice?

I'm not sure that's what he was advocating.
What he actually said was that it takes that much to understand ice. That's a different point all together.

He is absolutely right you should be top roping, top roping, top roping on ice before you think about leading it. And then you should be leading (and this was his real point) well within your comfort zone- so leading/ soloing WI1 or WI2 would count towards your laps.

The reason is (and the thread title indicates this) falling on ice is a different proposition to falling on rock. You can't take redpoint tactics on water ice, in fact you can't take on-sight rock tactics on ice- you need to keep within a comfort zone.
 Ander 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Monk:
> (In reply to Monk)
> I have just re-read this, and thought I had better state that this is purely idle musing. I am not suggesting that people should be hurling themselves off cascades with gay abandon.

Of course the best falls on rock are going to be on overhanging or steep rock. The worst falls on rock are going to be on slabby or ledgy rock, or where you're going to take a swing.

However, again, the ice is different. It's almost never going to be overhanging, and likely to be less than overhanging most the time.

But the biggest difference is the big pointy things you've got on your feet. It's very easy, even in a small fall on a poor top rope, for a crampon point to catch and break an ankle- and properly break it, not just put some small fracture in. This is a big extra risk in ice climbing.
 CurlyStevo 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Ander: I disagree I think ice climbing can be learnt starting leading snow gullies with the odd ice step and gradually over a number of years working your way up the grades.
 Monk 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Ander:
> (In reply to Monk)
> [...]
>

>
> But the biggest difference is the big pointy things you've got on your feet. It's very easy, even in a small fall on a poor top rope, for a crampon point to catch and break an ankle- and properly break it, not just put some small fracture in. This is a big extra risk in ice climbing.

Yeah, I understand that and it is one of the major factors to my mental evaluation of the risks I mentioned in one of my posts above. I think that basically, I agree with what people are saying in general but in a different way. Climbing ice is actually relatively easy compared to climbing rock, but the objective factors build up to making easier moves have a more serious overall grade.

I don't think that one should push things hard on ice, but I also don't think that only top-roping is the answer. Being within a comfort zone and being aware of the potential dangers is a good start, but that comfort zone can include leading.

Frankly, I'd rather fall of a cascade than I would most Scottish winter routes, although obviously either option doesn't sound too appealing.
You might have to approach ice and rock in very different ways, however I think in this case there is a more general lesson.

On a ledgey route he placed too few points of protection and in the wrong places. Falling 10+ metres off a rock route onto a ledge is bad also.
 ChrisHolloway1 24 Mar 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: Really enjoyed the film, very well put together
 Misha 25 Mar 2011
In reply to aostaman:
I like your analysis. These are not the only reasons for accidents and deaths but that is certainly a factor.
 timjones 25 Mar 2011
In reply to Ander:

> He is absolutely right you should be top roping, top roping, top roping on ice before you think about leading it. And then you should be leading (and this was his real point) well within your comfort zone- so leading/ soloing WI1 or WI2 would count towards your laps.

There's no should about it. It's an option but each individual can make their own decision on how to start.
 Hannes 25 Mar 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: My first ever ice lead was a WI3+ and it went fine, as has things since. Main problem for these guys I think is that they don't seem to have someone who really knows what they are doing who can offer advice, after all if someone tells you how to do something better after have a close call you are more likely to learn something than if you just analyse the situation yourself. If they'd had an ice guru he would have told them not to tie down the belay like that, put a screw in before the low angled section ran out, as high as possible to minimise falling so far and so on.

I had an ice guru, or at least someone who has done it for years and it allowed me to get proper feedback and learn much quicker. I do hope they get together with Will and learn as much as possible.
 DanielJ 06 Apr 2011
In reply to Hannes: More good stuff from Will: "How not to suck" http://gravsports.blogspot.com/

He makes a point about the toproping if you live far from decent ice, you dont need a lot of ice to train on. From my very limited exp. of training I would say that(at least if the ground is somewhat snowcovered and not very bouldery) that you only need 5-6m high and 4-5m wide ice to practice on. Kind of icebouldering. On that limited amount of ice you can practice all the weird stuff in iceclimbing, eg traversing, topouts over bulges and downclimbing.

Sadly winter is long gone and it´ll be at least 8 months before my picks will taste ice again. Buh!
paraffin 06 Apr 2011
In reply to Minnie Cox Sue:

nice touching video. Sadly, the poor lead climber seemed well out of his depth.

Will Gadd's critique is absolutely spot on and should be a template for all aspiring icicle climbers.

Rules Nos.1 to infinity: "The leader shall not fall"

BTW I liked the ER doc's calm advice, "you are not just going home to have a Scotch - we are getting you to a hospital for a scan."
 CurlyStevo 06 Apr 2011
In reply to parafinn:
Out of interest did you ever top rope much ice or only second before leading?

Personally I have just slowly worked up the grades gaining confidence as I go and climbing with many different people.
paraffin 06 Apr 2011
In reply to CurlyStevo:

I personally hate icicle climbing and try to avoid it for the reasons amply illustrated in the video.
I started out winter climbing sharing leads with good reliable people on IV/V's but never progressed beyond that.
 CurlyStevo 06 Apr 2011
In reply to parafinn:
Aye I think you may have climbed a wee bit harder than that (using todays grades) at some stage though right
paraffin 06 Apr 2011
In reply to CurlyStevo:

be careful now. This is Minnie Cox Suc's thread and said person operates a zero tolerance policy on thread hijackers.
Listen, I am not a gambler and I am happy with what I've got. So tonight I'm happy to take away a Grade IV/V.
Jim Crow 24 Apr 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux:

F**king spanner. Don't fall off ice climbing (ever!!!!!!!!!!!)

Anyway - why didn't he hook the lowered top rope with his leashed tool?!!

Video makes him look like a hero rather than an idiot.
Jim Crow 24 Apr 2011
In reply to Jim Crow:

Sorry, my mistake - I hadn't seen the video the whole way through - what a bunch of f**king spanners. Oh, if only evolution operated more efficiently!
 CorR 25 Apr 2011
I havn't ice climbed before.

Saying that, even as a rock climber he just didn't put in gear before the chimney.
The video looks really nice though.
 StevenRogers 25 Apr 2011
In reply to Minneconjou Sioux: If I was him I would place more gear and if I was the belayer I wouldn't stand where he was. But thats just my two cents.

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