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Everything posted by blueserac

  1. Congrats you two! I have spent many years waiting for conditions for a winter ascent of the big face of Rugged, and one year made it half way up in '97 but had to retreat from one of those winter storms that come in. In the mid '90's I saw that ice you two found, but I was over on Grayback trying the ice there. Well done.
  2. Climbing in BC Jan 17-19?

    Too bad! If you are on the Island and want to crank and set lines, go to the Nomash and Rugged Cirque! Most of the fun lines if in are 4 and there abouts! If you like to solo try the big wall. You can find something to play on. Everything is in!
  3. Big Walls

    Aside from these punters, read the book! Use the information and knowledge in it! Do lots of multi-pitch, get used to the aid kit, really, really examine why belay transfers either speed things up or totally slow you up! Hit a quarry and actually practice those teachings in that book, study it. If you really want to learn good rope work and station skills go north and hire a Canadian guide to show you.
  4. using rope for insulation beneath sleeping pad

    Your initial question seems to have the answer...do it! Do it you are yes going on a multi-day route where you will be on a small ledge, in a big col, chopping your platform, resting for a few mid route, it makes sense, and your initial idea of creating an insulation layer beneath an existing sleeping system are sound. Dead air space without circulation is insulation. Well done, you get it! In the early days it was used to save both weight and volume in your pack and kit, however now that our gear is much lighter and compact than then you can still save weight and volume. You are already carrying the rope, it is your base that you place your other sleeping pad on top of, it is really quite comfortable. One rope a person. Under all of your kit and utilized as the initial layer of insulation it will not get everything damp and wet. Use a bivi bag. You can always shake out the snow and frost prior to bringing it in, and it also helps to keep things less columnar on an a multi day. My team and I would use it: in a tent, where after making our platform and getting the start of the tent up- the one most chilled would go inside and lay the rope one each sleeping spot- the other would guy out the tent; with bivi bags where everyone would lay out the rope at the bottom of their bivi bag, then place sleeping pad and gear on top rope, then crawl in bag; even in cabins and caves, as before; and again in when a forced bivi happened without pads. We focused on first layering below the torso, then as much the hips and legs as possible. Your pack will work great for the legs and the other contents in silnyl bags will be good borders, and you will have enough stuff to make a pillow. The primary thing for us aside from weight was to reduce volume, especially for climbing with your pack on technical ground. If we could head out with a 30-35L day pack for 2-3 days we were good! Find your fun.

    Now who is going an playing in the Rugged Cirque these days? It has been a place of much fun and more than enough times to play avalanche matador. Nice, that one I have not tried.
  6. crampon technique.

    Going old school...well that could easily lead anyone into a never ending trap to define what their take on old school is. So, let me try to stay out of their. By looking at how the sport began, and realizing what those pioneers did, again and again, season after season with the gear and common knowledge that was readily available to them. Go to Hyalite and check out some of the early climbs, and they were put up with similar gear to what you have and by far nothing as cool as your Cobras, and far less reliable pro. These pioneers were able to do more with what they had; sure it is easier now to get out and crank off common grades with the kit that we now have and with the common knowledge that we have. We are were we are and our reference is so where it is, but it seems that in the old school it was much more important and common to look at the how's and why's things and techniques worked. (Ever go to the crag and see someone, usually swearing, try and try again the same sequence of moves that keeps them popping, and then see someone keep popping at the same spot but working different moves until they get it?) If you build knowledge and can predict the outcomes of those actions you will have done something beyond gronking your way up. Have you ever had a shoulder or arm/wrist injury that impeded your pre-injury ability when climbing, but then kept going out to play. You were forced to re-examine what was you considered to be an easy route, and by this examination figured why this worked and that didn't. Usually it goes back to the feet. In the end technique and knowledge are gained, so it is said. Even if your 12 pointers are "old" they are still very good, and in the old days consider that some of the greatest iconic routes that come to mind way back in '38 and that era all with less high tech kit. Play with your crampons, maybe try buildering on bricks or stone but only limit your foot choices to 1/4 inch lips or less, but try working with one front point or the other and see what that gives you? So by old school I must gather (or blather) on what you are doing by really examining what you have and what it can do and what you can do with it. Push the limits but learn how and why the outcomes came about. How's that? Have fun
  7. crampon technique.

    You really have examined things for your self, and are doing a lot to get to that new knowing. Watching others is good, and even better if you can draft them, provided that you take everything in, eyes open as they say. You sound like you are ice bouldering, that is the great way to put your gear and you, and your commitment to the limit. It works. Attached to that, have you gone old school?! Both Chouinard and Rebuffat will provide information that might change your perspective on how to do ice. In this, is your kit sharp? You can do a lot with this modern kit. Play around with leash length, but remember it is your legs that do the work; so have sharp crampons. I have used old 12 point strappers for such a long time in the black and white days, then put on mono's and have felt a lot of freedom as with rock. What if you didn't work out, but instead added to your morning, or afternoon, or once you get home schedule to do a few push-ups, dips, crunches, squats and calf raises. 20 of each, maybe two sets at first. What's ten minutes to your day? It will give you that added reserve. Included with added reserve, you mentioned feeling on the leading edge on your leads, so how about lead a whole bunch of 2's and 3's, but just beat the snot out of them? Practicing efficient screws on demand, and 'tactical' rests will also do very well for how you take the action to the event when leading. Have fun, and do all of it solo while bouldering, so if you pop you get up laughing, dusting yourself off and leave an angel imprint. It has worked for those who suggested it to me. Enjoy
  8. New Google Earth imagry in Wapiti Valley area

    Thanks Ed, you have really done a lot for building "secrecy" about this area. I will check out the Google Earth stuff in a bit. Ed's so not right, there is nothing in this area worth coming to this area, nothing at all. He really needs to recheck his info. You do not want to come here. The main bulk of Grayback, the Wapiti, is slab, yet if you look at it from the Nomash ML, on the left side of the skyline there are some nice looking and fun steeper corners. Actually, the original Wapiti Mainline was a connection to the Wapiti Glossette, an incomplete 7-8 pitch corner system. Not sure if anyone has finished it yet. I was was with DP for these early explorations, and DL and Ed have done well with the area. I wish I were back down there again. The Wapiti Mainline (original) does glaze over with ice in the right conditions, all the way up to the saddle! Go and get it. The Glossette route also has looked fun (horrible, and not worth looking at in winter, ever) under those similar conditions. Ed's right, behind you across the valley is the Haihte Range, and Rugged still is offering a full winter ascent on that fun face. In summer, it is a hoot, but that's too easy. Beside it have a look at the three peaks and shared wall(s) of Merlin Pk. I am so out of touch of what is happening down there, but when I was taking portraits of it all three were in need of introductions. That said, Ed is right again, this gives up opportunity to those that really want to be there; it is the opposite of Arakis and is for the "devote". It is a great area to practice your human/bear skills. Here's another gem, once I heard of huge rime just like in Chouinards' pictures from Patagonia on the upper shoulders of Rugged! Have fun.
  9. Cool mountain history

    That it a good friend to have I suspect. His book is very good. The Nomash is a very fun area. North Island moisture, wow it sure can add to or make or steal from the experience. One time when descending the Nathan Cr Col, just at the top down the heather the up rush of wind blown rain hit and flushed the eyes and when I blinked it was exactly the same as driving your car through a storm with the wipers going...each blink cleared the eye ball. That was during one summer. It is a very fun area. Here is another fun corner to in that cirque.
  10. Cool mountain history

    Yep, you bet. How many times have you been on that oath to recognize them? There may even be nice ice the long left facing corner to the right of the picture, at the middle of the face. It usually comes in early, and is best before the slabs load with snow.
  11. Cool mountain history

    Here is some fun stuff on the Island too: This comes in every winter.
  12. Cool mountain history

    There is so much cool stuff on the Island. http://www.horizon.bc.ca/~acc/VIAG/
  13. Extend cordelette

    Halifax presents solid points for safety. When you on the rope you are on the rope. Simple, right? Anchors are anchors, right? Why would you have a different set of rules for lead climbing and that for top roping? You are on rope for both. In top rope scenarios you are system and equipment dependant, usually much more so than in lead/follower ssituations. 1- Cheap, why be cheap with equipment? What are the costs of your health and life? 2- Lazy! Yes, you are lazy to not function at the highest standard of care. The information is available to learn, adopt and practice safe climbing. 3-Self-Centered! Just change you systems for the better. Don't worry what others say or think about doing it one, or in this case many steps better than what your contemporaries do. You are placing your partner at risk and in danger. If something happens from your negligent systems your poor choice places the quality and experience for fun of those around you at risk; and if the assistance of those to respond to correct the situation (help your lazy ass) are themselves potentially placed at risk. If the access and land use is in review a incident like this could be enough to shut it down for others. Beginners might be looking at what and how you do it and may think that is how you do it. 4- Synaptic pathways...ummmm, this is learned behaviour to you, or it is how you do things. If you practice crap then that is what you will do. So when you are tired and at that one time that it really isn't ok to act negligently you will do what you have practiced. So if you practice crap now then you will do it when it matters, and that is called karma. Anchors need to be redundant, multi directional and equalized. Reduce the links in the safety chain. Extended improve smooth running and efficient belaying, and to prevent cross loading or levering on biners. Prevent nylon on nylon of possible. If it needs to nylon on nylon, which it doesn't, not all knots are equal, use close ended loops and not self-constricting hitches; and cord/rope to tape can greatly deteriorate the integrity of the tape. Buy some long, long sections of 1 inch tubular or 8mm static line so that you can make your anchor from trees in one long equalized strand. Take a course. Read books, information. Go to the library, bookstore, used books shop, and learn as much as you can. What ever ever happened to John Longs' series of books...Climbing Anchors, and the second volume, More Climbing Anchors?
  14. Trip: Arrowsmith Massif- Vancouver Island - The Snout Date: 7/14/2007 Trip Report: The Snout is right out in the open for all to see, like a nose on your face. We have viewed from the hairpin, on the way to the "col" or from the rock on Cokely. Snout from Cokely This buttress is so obvious that one day we had to wander over to it and introduce ourselves. On one saturday, that wasn't a monsoon, or too hot, or full of bugs we re-discovered this line. The Snout is four and a bit pitches of low fifth (5.2ish). Ohhh, it reminds me of four pitches of Sugarloaf at Murrin, the climbing is very similar. However, it is devoid of cracks and good places for pro, either good or bad. I looked and scoured for gear placements and those few pieces went in we dug out and poor. One piece per pitch. Pitches were about 55 meters. The belays are left desiring for better anchors. Looking up from the base Topping out Super fun romping...the rock is good...if it had gear it would be a great first multi-pitch lead for a beginner...as is, cerebral for the intermediate leader, a good dance for seasoned folk. A great add on to the Bumps Route. 4 pitches, 5.2, x-rated. Gear Notes: Gorilla Tape. Slings Blades Nuts (#1 Stopper, #3 Wallnut) Cam #2 60m rope Approach Notes: Park at the hairpin and hike to the "col" then go right ~100 or so meters then descend to the base. This should take ~45 minutes. Descend via the approach.
  15. Trip: Arrowsmith-Vancouver Island - Ice Rebirth Date: 10/27/2007 Trip Report: Ice is here. Gotta love the shoulder seasons. Now maybe the ridges and troughs will over lap with the weekend so things stay attached. Great day for a picnic. Gear Notes: Multi-grain bagels, garden picked lettuce, seedy mustard and a good ham. Local fruit dehydrated from the summer added to the trail mix. Approach Notes: Drive to the hairpin, hike the col trail.
  16. Ice axe

    Body posture and technique come to mind when thinking of self-arrest and self-belay more so than the length of the axe. Poor technique and little committment will always fail you. Or, do you fail the technique? 60cm piolets seem to work the most ergonomicly on terrain that is fun and worthy of such an elegant tool. This length seems to work well for either me at 6'2" doing both self-arrest or self-belay over different slope angles as much as it does for my partner who is 5'3" on the same slopes in same techniques. Speed of initiation of your techniques (whether self- belay or, then self-arrest), applied mass, angle of force and your holding onto the axe seem to key principles here. Self-belay, shoulders over top the axe, everythning lined up driving the tool deep into the snow. Timing and committment are everything; and reacting is poor where foresight is better. Self-arrest, body curled up driving your closest shoulder onto the axe head. The hand on the axe head is locked in place just over the shoulder. The opposite hand prises the spike/furrel/point up as in a lever and can guide the sharp bit away from your body; doing so can increase the dig of the pick. Your lower body is keyed intot he move usually pivoting from the knees; and this is best if you are wear crampons or on uneven terrain. These bits of piolet vocabulary work well with the different piolets I have and also with all my ice tools. I find it easier to use self-belay if the spike is clear and shaft straight. Just a little easier. A shorter shaft ~60 cm in a piolet seems to be that happy medium for most plunging as well as all other techniques on terrain that you would not want ice tools. Try this ratio, what is the distance from iliac crest to the A/C Joint of opposite shoulder? Go back and re-read your Chiounard. Then practice and apply it.
  17. improving ice screws

    The OP swivels seemed to sit in place with a little epoxy. These little gixmos sure added new life into my old BD and Smiley screws. Sure the knobs stick up at a poor angle that does get in the way when efficiency is what you are valuing most. However, the ease when placing the scews is worth the frustration. If you don't want to budget for Express or just want to add new life to old Turbos then go for it. You can always pull 'em off of let your buddy take them for the next lead.
  18. carbon fiber ice tools?

    Noticed the reinforcing at the neck of too, must dissipate the energy and help hold the head. The curve should really keep things protected. I still have and use an old pair of straight shaft Chouinard fibre glass tools. The space age technology in the new Cobras should be nice.
  19. Ice screw thread direction

    Well, your querry says it all; your answer is in your question. If you feel that your Soviet kit is funky, then place your chips on the marker that says it is. Black Diamond is the standard that the rest measure to. Is you life worth the budget savings of a most likeliy more costly screw; and a wire is a lot less heavy than a screw for an Abalokov.
  20. [TR] Squamish - Angel Crest 8/11/2007

    Hey folks, these pics and trip report really get me homesick...my goodness, do I miss being able to run up those nice lines at the end of the day...or through it with my kids... That is a intriguing welcome figure. Where is it located, and who placed it? It is not a Native American thing as pointed out, as we are Canadian up here; and in Squamish, it is a Sko-mish thing. I have seen those before while at work paddling on the west coast, it looks like a stick a "shaker" or "dancer" may utilize in daily dealings. In all cases, be reverent to the land for giving us such wonderfully enjoyable lines to climb that both feed us and nourish our intrigue.
  21. Hammer Drills?

    I am thinking of upgrading my drill the sort that needs a hammer to a cordless power unit. Can you guys remark on the voltage that I am looking for; and difference in brands? Thanks for the feedback.
  22. Hammer Drills?

    billcoe, so how many 3/8 bolts can your new Hitachi drop in on a charge?
  23. Getting started in Squamish

    Here is another vote for McKlanes' book. Grades, grades, grades, grades...what is in a grade. What is your limit for leading on trad gear, and whatever it is be cautious with choosing a route based on the numbers. Here are some of the areas and routes that jump to mind when reading your querry. The Bluffs. Go to the Bluffs and you will be more than entertained. I love Butter Fingers Wall (oh, ok, it is really Burgers and Fries), and see that many folk enjoy it as a Squamish introduction. Many people enjoy Wisecrack 5.7,Burgers and Fries 5.7, and then Dusty Eyes 5.4. It appears that many people have a slower time on Dusty than Wise. You can drop a top rope on all these routes, but many classes do this so it is good to arrive early. Directly above Butter Fingers is the Neat and Butterfingers Wall (Ok, Neat and Cool Wall). Again these routes can be top roped with walk up access via the Pixie Corner trail, just ask anyone. Corn Flakes is a wicked route at 5.6; Corner Crack 5.7 to the left just left of Flying Circus. On the terrace up and left of this are Cat Crack, a very must do butter fingers thing to tick, at 5.6; and Stump 5.8; Sally Five Fingers 5.8. Ohhh, to the left is Mosquito just to the right of Zombie Roof. Mosquito whould be the one with line up. It goes at 5.8. Beware, especially if you are female, as many, many women climbers have been coaxed into leading this route by their boyfriends and have wound up with a bad labial wedgy by the rope as they fall at the crux. It is really busy, but a blast and if you have done it the umpteenth time try jamming it throughout! So back to the next wall above Neat and Butterfingers Wall is Butter Fingers Wall (ok, Pixies Corner). It is well, again another fun wall. Ok, it is more like four walls all bent up like a trade show kiosk. Pixie Corner is an amazing twin finger to hand crack corner with a roof-let-lip to send; and the entire mass takes nuts like a bad late night movie at the Kitten theartre. Try Davie Jones Locker in the left overleaf of the kiosk at 5.7. Keep going along the trail and you will eventually arrive at the Butterfingers wall and if you continue the trail goes either Butterfingers or Pink Butterfingers. Eventually you will make it to the Japanese Butter Fingers without the direction of a master. "Digoro, if you choose the ball you will join your mother; and if you choose the sword you will join me." (Ronins' Corner)...however, Digoro, if keep going looking for mid-fifth you shall pass the Butterfingers Lane wall and wind up back at Butter Fingers. Murrin Park is a great place to play but really poor place to park after the crowds wake up. Try the power tower and the Butter Fingers Crag. (Sugar Loaf Wall.). Or Digoro, you can try the Worlds Toughest Butter Fingers. It is 5.8, and worth every centimeter of it, especially the end. Try the longer routes on the Butterfingers Apron. Butter Finges Peel is a classic with varied climbing and changing and if you do it an deluge you will see what those rounded steps are all about. There are a few historic routes on the Apron. The North Apron boasts Vector, Calculus Crack, South Arete are very fun lines that fit that "mid fifth to 5.8" you are seeking. How are your aid skills? If you are happy leading 5.8 on gear and can efficiently place gear as C1 you can send the Apron and do the Buttress. It may be easy to ask another person to set a top rope you on the crux; this section can be done on wires. Just come up and get a copy of Mclanes' Guide to Butter Fingers. Oh, for sport lines, Jumajumalungma suggests Mercy Me on the Grand.
  24. dynamic belay

    Dynamic belays orginated when ropes were made of natural fibres and didn't have the shock absorbtion from elongation of the fibres as modern kernmantle ropes do. The old ropes transfered a lot of energy to the system and the falling climber often resulting in equipment failure and severe injury. To hedge their bets and compensate for the lack of rope stretch the dynamic belay was developed. Another thing to consider is the holding power of the belay used. Earlier belays commonly were hip belay, shoulder belay, re-drirected with the rope only clipped through a biner either connected to a pin or sling, axe, and terrain belays. The holding power from these belays are much lower than modern devices; yet these earlier belays would run or be dynamic by nature. Different devices provide different holding or arresting power, and different diameter ropes add to this as well. Like most here, I have had ropes run while arresting a fall, especially with thin cords that are iced over and wearing gloves. Fatigue and inattention can happen any time. The Grigri was mentioned and would be good for those instances. Luckily, the remedy may be a social response rather than a technological one. Train with your buddy, get in lots of mileage and develop your systems that work for you so that your systems just kick in and you become accustomed to operating on long rotues. Bracing yoruself for taking the load of the falling climber by automatically locking it off isn't always the best situation. Sometimes you'll want to yard in as many armfuls of rope before locking it off. Each situation warrants a specific action, that is why we climb right? There is no one magic bullet for belaying. You could also just go old school and just not fall.
  25. dynamic belay

    Martyb, what are your larger concerns around belaying in the hills? Are you looking for the "ultimate" belay method? The others have already made so many good points, you want gear to hold; you also want to protect against hitting objects on the way down. The potential outcomes of either of these or in combiantion in a remote situation is well, evident it will really suck and be a lot of work. Only Sith deal in absolutes. Both are true, from a certain point of view. Application. Application is key. I employ a dynamic style of belay when appropriate. Usually that translates to mediums that compromises the integrity of anchor [gear] placements. Snow and ice routes a dynamic belay may be used; and somtimes I'll consider making things run if the rock gear is suspect. Dynamic snow anchors it may be common to chop/stamp a seated platform for a three-point belay augmented to a anchor above. Think old school technique here. I grew up on Chouinard and then Rebuffat so this stuff makes sense. I may use this application if I am in a poor situation with a suspect anchor. If the opportunity to build a bomber anchor in the snow is open then I will make one and usually will belay off a stitch-plate type belay device. This application is usually availlable on most snow routes that I have been on where I haven't been lazy [negligent] to seek an appropriate location to drop an anchor. Consider the potential outcomes of a slip, would it be ok to drop a hasty garbage three-point at the top end of a crevasse while the lead takes on a serac? Where are they going to end up, and what will happen to me and the anchor? Whenever, I employ a boot-axe belay I attempt to reduce the salck in the systen to reduce the impact and impulse forces but do expect a little slippage and will add to that to reduce those forces on to the axe. One ice routes 97% of the time I belay off a stitch-plate type belay device. There are occasions where a hip belay is elected to reduce the forces on the gear. A very convenient device has been developed called the Screamer or Shock Absorber and it reduces the impact forces on your gear and system. Ice climbers commonly utillize these gizmos. On rock, sure I use a dynamic anchor to alleviate the forces on the system if there is risk at overloading a component of the system. Application. How and when to employ a dynamic belay are up to what the situation calls for. However, these suggestions ar enot license to become sloppy and begin cutting corners. Only Sith deal in absolutes. Both are true, from a certain point of view.