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About cartman

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  • Birthday 06/07/1963


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  1. Alpine Scramble this weekend (7/14 7/15)

    PM sent.
  2. What size ice axe to buy? Another opinion

    Thanks to the spray clowns for reminding me why I almost never post to this site. Well done. Back to your sandboxes now.
  3. What size ice axe to buy? Another opinion

    Any plunge can be a self-belay if it's helping to prevent a fall.
  4. What size ice axe to buy? Another opinion

    It was this article that prompted my original post. Jim leaves plenty of room to go shorter or longer; my point is that longer is usually going to work better for beginners, and for many on moderate terrain. As far as using an ice ax as a walking stick, suppose I'd have to show the technique to explain what I mean by that. I use it as a cane while self-belaying at the same time when moving.
  5. What size ice axe to buy? Another opinion

    I disagree, especially re: glaciers. On glaciers they are both climbing and walking aids, and most people will have an ax in hand regardless of the slope angle for arresting in case of a crevasse fall. Therefore, when walking on moderately angled glacier slopes the ax can be used to push off (after a proper plunge for self-belay) for the reasons I stated above. I've used the one ax (70cm)/one pole method myself to good effect. If doing this on exposed terrain, trick is to have the pole out of the way if needing to arrest; one must be prepared to sacrifice the pole in this case, and the pole leash should never be used if an arrest could be necessary as the pole could get in the way of an immediate arrest. As could one's instincts to hold onto the pole, for that matter. On harder terrain or short/catastrophic runouts, the poles get put away, but at times I'll use the technique with long runouts. Good judgment is crucial if using this technique.
  6. It is customary to recommend an ice ax length that is 1-2" above the ground when held loosely in the hand. I think this is too short. Why? The majority of travel on glaciers and other terrain when holding an ice ax will be on relatively low-angle slopes. In this terrain, an ice ax is there to provide security and to prevent a fall if you need to arrest. The best way to prevent a fall is good technique and staying in balance. A short ax plunged into snow will force the climber out of balance by leaning too far to the side and forward on low-angle slopes. The softer the snow, the deeper the ax is plunged and the farther the climber will have to lean over. A longer ax helps the climber to stay more upright. The ax is also used as a cane to help with balance and to push off when stepping (similar to using a trekking pole), utilizing the upper body and conserving energy use by the legs. When leaning too far, it is far more energy-wasting to come out of the step, and does not allow the climber to use the rest step with maximum efficiency. I have seen climbers exhaust themselves when using a too-short ax in sloppy snow conditions. I am 5'11" and started out, before I had any real idea what I was doing, with an 85cm ax and made even this work on moderate slopes. I've been using 70cm axes for years now and will not use a shorter ax for the vast majority of routes. The tip of a 70 touches the ground when held loosely in my hand. A shorter tool can, but not always, provide better security when going up or traversing steep routes, especially on firm snow. However, not being an extreme climber these are a small minority of the slopes I travel, so the 70cm ax suits me best. Each climber will learn his/her preference; but for beginning climbers who will be traveling on moderate slopes to start, I would recommend a longer ax as their first.
  7. Terrific pics, Jason. This is a great but not often traveled area beyond Little Devil--dicey and I did the traverse over to Big last year: http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=7984640&highlight=devils+traverse One of my favorite trips in recent years.
  8. Alpine Tomorrow?

    I'm available. What did you have in mind?
  9. Trip Wed 10/13

    Partner found.
  10. Trip Wed 10/13

    Looking for a climbing or scrambling partner for a day trip Wed. More interested in a mellow climb or a scramble; not interested in cragging. One exception would be to climb the Triad (b/n Hidden Lake and Eldorado Peaks); an off-trail route through the trees up the south slope to the notch b/n middle and east peaks--one 5th class pitch from there according to Roper. Need to ford the N. Fork Cascade River at the start. Long day, requires very early start or car camp Tues night. PM if interested.
  11. FS Petzl Aztar Set

    PM and email sent
  12. Looking for partner(s) for a trip, climb or scramble any or all of the above days. PM if interested.
  13. Dark Peak in May

    Dark Pk is a beautiful and worthy trip. People only gripe about it before going there. And it has one of the better waterfalls in the range draining the upper basin. Your timing will be good if you have decent weather. We did it third week of June 2006 and were just a bit late re: the alder. Another party did it first week of June and were able to simple walk on snow on the right side of Swamp Creek all the way to the lower basin. We had to make a dangerous log crossing (good luck finding it) and do some bashing, but still not that bad, on the left side of the creek to get to the lower basin. From the lower basin, take a shallow gully on climber's left (hidden until well into the basin), then steep woods to reach the upper basin. Don't go up any of those slabs or do any of those spicy routes to the right of the waterfall. From the upper basin climb the right side of the glacier to the skyline then simply turn left to scramble the Class 2/3 rock to the summit. As long as you stay on route the only place you'll need a rope is for the glacier. Spectacular view of the Company Glacier on Bonanza; this alone makes the trip worthwhile. Three day trip with the ferry/shuttle travel. You won't have time to do another peak. Bonanza is a far more difficult trip requiring multiple double-rope rappels to downclimb safely, more routefinding, and a lot of experience scrambling hard, poor rock.