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scrambled_legs

Toes down or Heels down

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Just getting into ice climbing and had a friend tell me that you should always practice planting your feet with your heels lower than your toes. In most of the instruction books I've read it says to never relax your ankles and drop your heels, or your crampon will pivot out. Which is it? Also, can you recommend some good one pitch WI3 or easy straight forward routes that are in, close to Calgary? Thanks

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Heels down 4-sure. The idea is the front points AND the secondary point work better and cause less fatigue on your legs. The kick you use should be swinging your leg more from the hip than the knee.

 

Ever hear of climbers complaining of burning calf muscles. This tends to happen on lower angle stuff because they get stretched more and it's more difficult to engage secondary points.

 

What the hell book were you reading anyway?

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Heels down.

 

Some good practice routes close to Calgary:

 

Canmore Junkyards

This House of Sky in the Ghost

Grotto

The first several pitches of Cascade (walk off Climbers right)

Rogans Gully, next to Cascade

 

Just pick of a copy of Joe Josephsons guidebook, its very well done and you'll quickly get familiar with all the good practice areas.

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Heels down, like Dave said don't need to drop them too far, just far enough so that your secondary points are against the ice. This will help you stabilize yourself standing on your toes, without burning out your calves. If you drop your heel to far, yes you can dissengage your front points.

 

Also those climbs that Alex mention are good beginner climbs, on those you may want to practice flat footing (french technique) or mixed one flat on front point (when the ice is 60 degrees or less). It is a good way of resting your calves and it can be done on fairly steep terrain once you are accustom to it.

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Heels down. When I first began climbing, I bought a book that said toes down. This is contrary to about every other thing I've read or heard of. I don't know why the auther thought this, but I would recomend "Moutaineering- the freedom of the Hills" as a really good reference book for climbing.

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IT'S "G'S UP, HOE'S DOWN."

AFTERALL,IN THE IMMORTAL WORDS OF SNOOP D-O-DOUBLE G

"IF THAT BITCH CAN'T SWIM,

SHE'S BOUND TO DRIZZOUND."

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Heel's down. It's a common beginner's mistake to want to climb toes down. As David Parker said, you want the front points AND the secondary points to catch.

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And you need to maintain the position once you hit the ice. I think the confusion here is that you want your heels lower than your toes, but once your points are set you can't drop your heels or your secondary points will lever the front points out.

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