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Jud

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About Jud

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  1. accident on Harvey?

    Some months have passed since this accident --but I only just learned of it (having been on the N Face of Harvey two weekend's ago in pretty sketchy conditions, that I naively didn't realize were sketchy...and there had been an avalanche there the previous weekend, and a rescue, which I wasn't aware of. I'd been climbing with my rock partner, belaying every pitch on the rotting snow, and being very careful...we eventually bailed and downclimbed from up high). Does anyone have any more details of what happened to Peter Dedi? Was it rock or ice fall, or the climber slipping/falling, or something else? I wasn't able to find any more info on ACC accident reports, and am very curious about the accident. All I know is that Peter Dedi was soloing, which presumably was a factor, but doesn't explain much at all about the nature of the accident. Thanks for any info.
  2. Class or just do it

    I took the same type of course with a local (to me, in Vancouver, BC) outfit called Canada West Mountain School. More important than the actual school, the guide who taught the course was simply fantastic --extremely knowledgeable, fantastic teacher (being a good teacher is a very rare skill), and nice guy with whom I've kept in touch. My impression is that people with professional guides training are extremely valuable to learn from --they tend to have many years of experience to share and are totally enthusiastic about their craft. We spent six very solid 10-12 hour days learning technical alpine skills, followed by a one-day summit attempt. I think you'd be hard-pressed to get that kind of "instruction" by just climbing with some people, especially in so short a time. As for me, since taking the course, I feel I have a fairly solid appreciation of alpine hazards (well maybe not solid , basic climbing techniques, crevasse rescue and related, terrain and navigation, etc. --stuff that would've take me a LOT longer to learn otherwise. With the course as a base, I've since been doing tons of reading (and practice) to build my skills --e.g., "Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher", written by two former AAI guides, seems a great follow up book after taking a basic one-week alpine climbing course --it take things to the next level in many areas. In short, though relatively expensive, you'll probably learn a ton from a good course and guide. Then you can post tons of questions here! :D
  3. By the way, Don or anyone else --with regard to "ice" in the alpine, can someone give me a better sense of what that means (in the summer). (Here's what I'm getting at: Last summer (mid-June), I was up on the PD Northeast Spur route on Mt. Matier. Straightforward snow climb; higher up, we looked for something hard to put ice screws (just for "practice"), but no luck. On the whole route, we simply used pickets or ice axes for belay anchors. "Alpine Select" describes the route as "ice". Now, looking at guidebook for the AD Northwest Face route on Matier, I see that it's also called an "ice" route (as are the various couloir routes on Joffre --Twisting Couloir, etc.), but are rated AD, or D...presumably b/c steep (or 'schrund to cross on approach). What I'm wondering is...obviously snow is composed of ice, but the PD NE Spur route on Matier is obviously not an ice climb: it's a snow climb...or it was for us in mid-June. But does a route like that, and like the steeper AD "ice" routes on Matier/Joffre couloirs turn into hard packed ice-like snow later in the summer, when the surface snow has melted off? Or would a route like the PD route always be a "snow" climb (using pickets for protection). A bit of a convoluted question...essentially, I understand that the AD Matier route and Jofre couloir routes are only in season as hard snow/ice climbs when the surface snow has melted off, and that the PD Matier route is pretty much only always a snow climb in summer. As for protection, is the AD route on Matier, and Joffre couloir routes (for example) protectable with screws when in season? I.e., is that kind of alpine ice like serac ice, or different...seems to me like it would be quite different...it looks too steep and hard (packed) to put pickets into a slope like the AD route on Matier, like here. Just trying to get a better sense of how one protects those kinds of alpine ice routes, ones like the AD NW Face on Matier, and the couloirs on Joffre, and when they're "in season", presumably in late summer/fall.
  4. ice axe arrest stories

    I had the unlucky chance to self-arrest on Sunday with a picket, after I'd really stupidly forgotten I'd shouldered my ice axe just prior to rappelling down some rock. (I'd removed my pack to get something, forgetting that the ax was back there --shouldered since I was downclimbing some rock and holstering it on my harness made it bang into the rock). It was probably a 35-40 degree slope, fairly hard packed snow. Without the ax, I should have been more slowly downclimbing facing in, but wasn't, since we wanted to get down in a reasonable hurry, so were facing out. Naturally, I slipped, and started sliding. Alarming to me now, I didn't automatically kick in to belly-flop self-arrest mode, but the run out wouldn't have been fatal (but rocks at the bottom), but I'm damn glad I had the picket in my hand to try to stop myself with. Try it with a picket, maybe, "just in case", to see what it's like to stop yourself using a less-than-ideal tool and your feet/elbows/body. Just a thought. Shit happens, like ice axes getting dropped, so it's nice to know you can deal with a situation another way.
  5. Thanks, Dane, for the detailed reply...good food for thought for me, lots to think about. I think I'll probably just end up getting a standard ice axe to replace my lost one...I realize how easy it is to "overthink" gear (but at the same time, you do want to have the right things). Your mention of shorter tools reminded me --I'd completely forgotten that last year I picked up a pair of 50cm straight and very old school Grivel Mont Blancs (I think) for cheap. Completely forgot I had them! So it seems like the hammer, paired with a standard axe, would serve me well for any steeper alpine ice routes I'd likely do, as you mentioned. (If waterfall ice were ever in my plans later on, then I suppose I'd get something specialized for that --although I'd be curious to see how the old straight-shaft short Grivel tools I have would feel on waterfall ice. That's what people used to use on some big routes, so presumably they'd be fine.) Funny...completely forgot I'd bought those old tools...tucked away in a closet! Cheers, Jud
  6. Thanks...I appreciate the straight opinions/advice. I figured that no one carries three tools, but thought I'd ask. As you can gather, I've got tons of questions in my head Cheers...
  7. I'm not totally clear on this. For example, what if your plan is to ascend a route with fairly steep ice/snow (for example, Mt. Matier's AD Northwest Face face route ( see here , where the climber is using two shorter, and slightly bent (or perhaps straight?) shaft tools on alpine ice of about 60* (?). On the approach to the climb, clearly, you have to travel up much more gently sloped and less technical snow slopes, so a standard, longer mountaineering ice axe would best allow you to walk in "cane" position for balance/self-belay and to self-arrest. So, in short, for a climb like that, would the "ideal" be to bring three tools --the shorter bent (or straight) shaft alpine ice tools (adze/hammer), as well as the longer/standard mountaineering ice axe for the more moderate slopes (for self-belay)? Just so it's clear --I'm not planning to ascend the route in question anytime soon, but I am planning to attempt the more moderate PD route on Mt. Matier, where a standard mountaineering ice axe would be used. However, for steeper/more difficult alpine ice climbs later on (like the AD route above), what would one *typically* bring for the lower moderate sections, as well as technical upper sections --three tools, or just two shorter alpine ice tools (and accept the compromises you mention)? Sorry for all the questions! I have a choice of buying two 50 cm older Black Diamond tools, but it's not clear to me that one of them is going to adequately take the place of my lost 70 cm standard ice axe. In all, I understand the compromises re: self-arrest, but it seems to me that the hardest compromise, with the shorter shafts, would be walking in the "cane" position (piolet canne) and self-belaying on moderate slopes: short shaft means much more bending over in both intances (?). So...does anyone ever carry three? (Two tools, one standard ax)
  8. Thanks again for the info. Lesson learned...sobering. I definitely need to learn more about conditions. Admittedly, there were melted out portions that looked very dodgy, but the solid portions, in the center, felt very solid (in fact, it was hard to plunge the ax shaft into sometimes for self-belay, since the snow pack was so solid). Anyway...lesson in caution learned.
  9. Shit...I had no idea. Thanks a ton for the info/warning. We were very conscious to only keep to the center of the ramp, away from anything that looked hollow/dodgy, and the snow felt very solid...but still. We were up there in February, I think, a few days after a lot of snow, and the avvy conditions were very bad --a bunch of snow about the size of a wheelbarrow or two slid down on us a little ways up (we had decided not to ascend and were just eating lunch just a little ways up the ramp), and we got the hell out of there after that. Thanks for the axe advice. I have to keep it cheap, going for versatility over tool choice! Limited budget. BTW, where did you hear about the accident? Is there a site where I can read about this? I.e., AAC accident reports? Just so that I can understand how/when/where accidents happen, i.e., to understand better how changing conditions affect things.
  10. A friend and I went up the North Face ramp route on Mt. Harvey on Sunday, expecting a more or less straightforward steep snow climb (e.g., see here) We expected portions of the route to be melted out by now, but figured it would be OK...well, we hoped it would be OK. Anyway, to make a long story short, we instead ended up doing some mid/low 5th cramponing up rock, and eventually bailing on the route up high up since (1) we had no idea of the actual route and it was very foggy, and (2) couldn't expect the steep (60*) traverse at the end of the ramp to get on the ridge to the summit to be in good condition (i.e., snow). So, we bailed, lowering down the snow, with downclimbing, and then rapping on a very tiny tree over the rock sections. It was a bit, um, thought-provoking --probably mainly b/c we had *expected* a straightforward snow climb, and got much more than we had bargained for. All in all, though, a good, if longer than expected, day with lots of lessons/practice. The crux of the story. Somewhat before rapping the steep rock section, I had shouldered my straight-shaft normal ice axe...then later went to retrieve something from my pack, stupidly forgetting that the axe was there. Clang clang clang it fell down the steep rock bit, miraculously coming to rest on a ledge about 10 feet down. No problem, I thought, I'll just retrieve it on the rappel. A small rock got dislodged (from me) just after that, hit the axe shaft (of all places on the mountain for it to ping into!!), and down the axe went into a chasm under a snow bridge. It was not retrievable at that point. So --I'm now contemplating buying two axes to replace the one I lost...I'm thinking of buying some slightly bent shaft tools, like old Black Diamond Prophets. From what I understand, I can use the hammer tool like a normal mountaineering ice axe (for self-arrest and self-belay on moderate snow), but can use them together for climbing steeper snow or alpine ice (and water ice). I'm just thinking ahead, since I need a new axe anyway --does it make sense to buy two slightly bent shaft tools so that I can use them that way in the future --one alone as a standard mountaineering axe for moderate stuff, or together for steeper stuff later on? Thanks for any opinions.
  11. Don, Many thanks for the extra detailed information --it's really great to be able to hear from the author of WCI himself! (By the way, fantastic and inspirational book to a novice like myself...thanks for distilling all your experience and trip reports, and those of friends, into that book [cheers to you]) Jud
  12. Single line rappeling question

    I think it's making more sense to me now --the biner clipped through whatever the knot is, clipping the rope back onto itself around the anchor is crucial, since, as you say, it just tightens up when weighted. One of those things that I need to actually DO and see to understand fully...I was looking at the description this morning in a book, and I realized how useful single line rapping is...but all those questions popped into my head, since it wasn't clear in "the book". Yup, just gotta go out and simulate it/try it out in a safe context. Thanks for clarifying.
  13. Totally...makes sense! I'm asking only b/c I hope to be up on the Anniversary Glacier/Matier/Joffre in a week or two for a trip. Hopefully to get up Matier (snow route), and then scout out the SW Buttress on the mountain's other side (rock, 5.7) for later on in the season... The Baker serac option is definitely more appealing as a regular option...I suppose there is a guide(s) of some sort to the serac area? I.e., books/maps? West Coast Ice (later edition) makes only brief reference to it --but maybe that's because it's easy to access and you just need to go and scout around since there's lots there? Jud
  14. I've been reading about single line rappelling in a good alpine climbing book (Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take You Higher; Mountaineers Press). It's pretty clear, but the one thing I don't quite get is the use of the retrieval line and "jammer" knot (butterfly knot in that book) at the anchor. I get how the retrieval line is tied to the end of the climbing rope...the climbing rope goes through the rap anchor. In this book, they show a butterfly knot tied above the knot joining the two ropes...the bight formed by the butterfly (or figure eight on a bight) has a biner clipped through it and to the climbing rope. When you get to the end of the rap, you pull the retrieval line to get the rope back. But...what I don't understand is how the rap rope is secured at the anchor. In a normal rappel, the doubled rope goes around the anchor and you rap on two ropes: the rope is secure around the anchor. In a single rope rappel, is it the butterfuly knot/biner that is key? In other words, it seems that the butterfly knot is critical in that it keeps the single strand of rope, which is weighted, from slipping through the anchor (e.g., rope is threaded through a sling around a rock horn). But what if the sling stretches a bit while the rope is weighted, and the butterfly slips through it?! It seems like all the climber's weight is being held by the butterfly knot --i.e., you're counting on it jamming at the anchor-- while you rappel (while holding the retrieval line in the other hand? Is that what you do?). I've found an illustration of single rope rappelling in the canyoneering context, and the jammer knot (not a butterfly in that case, but an overhand on a bight) jams up against a quick-link clipped to a sling (anchor), which seems very secure and makes sense to me. So, in the end, I guess my question is...when single line rapping, it seems like you need a fool proof way to keep that jammer knot (butterfly or s.t. on a bight) from pulling through while the rope is weighted with the climber?! Here's the canyoneering pic of single rope rapping, with the jammer knto being held at a small quick-link: http://canyonwiki.com/wiki/index.php/'biner_block Surely you don't always use a quick-link/sacrifice biner when single-line rapping? Noob questions galore...look out! Not sure if my question is clear...hard to describe it succinctly in type.
  15. Thanks, Montana is a bit out of the way from here for now! Yes, I'm vaguely aware that AI and WI are different in feel/technique, but for now I want to get started on some AI since it's easiest, i.e., it can be accessed in spring/summer/fall...my thinking is that this will at least let me transition a bit more easily into WI, having had practice swinging tools, etc.
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