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AlexandraOnIce

Basic ice rack

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Dane, let me preface this by saying I totally respect all of the good info you post on this board and I've been closely following your blog since you started it.

 

However, the trip report you posted pretty clearly shows pickets in use in several of the photos. Are you saying this was bad technique? And I kind of find it hard to believe that you've never used pickets?

 

I am kind of a newb so I'd like to know. I've been using pickets on steeper snow myself and would like to know if I should have been doing something different.

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Hey guys, even I find it hard to believe I have never placed a picket. Good or bad thing? I have no idea but who cares!

 

Obviously I can think of a situation that ONLY a well placed picket will make it safe and justifiable...just never actually seen one. And I can think of a couple of times I would have liked to have a few pickets. Instead I used the gear I had which was, "gentlemen, DO NOT, fall here". Easy enough ground but a huge hole we had to parallel longer than I would have liked. And I've tripped over my own crampons more than once on "easy ground".

 

Do I think pickets are bad technique? No. You use what you think is required at the time for the conditions and your skill set. I can think of places I would want several dozen pickets....just that I prefer not to climb there, then :) Huge holes are classic examples.

 

Some will think this a cop-out but really it isn't. I don't climb through nasty unstable crevasse areas if given a choice. Nasty stable ones are bad enough and I avoid those too. If I do go through them, I go really fast even if I am crawling on my belly..which i have done. I generally avoid crevasses and snow bridges, always if I think them unsafe. I try not to fall into crevasses or allow members of my party to fall into crevasses by good route finding and going in the best of conditions. I don't mind going around, turning around or abandoning a route all together if it is too broken up or the holes hidden under light snow bridges. I can always come back again as most hills stay exactly where you leave them but change often. I use boot axe belays and ice screws where I think things might be shakie. I don't carry dead men or pickets generally. I figure their required use tells me I should be doing something different. I know how to easily and quickly chop steps, bollards and set dead men made from what extra gear you do carry. But you need the right gear to make that easy and a Nomic aint it. Steps and or a boot axe belay are faster generally. Anything terrain wise those two low tech, low strength answers won't solve easily needs to be rethought imo.

 

Falls on steep snow that get folks hurt are generally leader falls. I don't trust a picket to hold a leader fall. Doesn't take much to hold a second while on a good belay if top roped. I don't use running belays with climbers of differing experience. I belay when required. I chop steps and use two tools when required. I am careful. If I need and can't get a good belay anchor I don't climb or I don't climb roped. I don't believe in mutual suicide pacts.

 

I just make it a point to not climb things that will need a picket...they scare me :)

 

Many times in climbing the most obvious is the safest. Like, I don't climb WA ice in the rain...seems obvious, doesn't it?

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N. Face of Hood although a great climb is no where close to being 60 degrees for 3000'...barely 45 for most of it. You would be hard pressed to hit 70 on the steps unless you go early in the season.

 

Majority of it a snow plod in the conditions you picture.

 

Here is a recent TR in thin conditions with some good climbing.

http://cascadeclimbers.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=865396

 

..and I notice at least one picket for protection in the photos. Soo - IMO, it's a matter of choice and your route selection. Pickets can be good protection if used properly, as with any piece of protection. I've found them useful for traversing steep snow above crevasses when the consequece of a fall would be fatal - I'm just not that bold I guess; or on steep snow/ice climbs where there was little choice and I did not feel comfortable running it out.

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I just make it a point to not climb things that will need a picket...they scare me :)

 

Fair enough. :) I have a similar relationship with flukes. I'll use them, but I don't like them.

 

I like the "DO NOT, fall here" line. I always get a kick out of describing an anchor as "well, I wouldn't fall on it".

 

Edit: So I won't seeing you do this Dane? ;)

 

Edited by gyro

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Ouch, Kini! Now you have gone and hurt my feelings. Some how I don't think you got the idea behind that last post :) I find the "ignore" button handy for annoying people like me.

 

"use what you think is required at the time for the conditions and your skill set. I can think of places I would want several dozen pickets....and I've tripped over my own crampons more than once on "easy ground".

 

Nope, not me, way too scary. Bunch of questions not answered in that clip. First would be why would anyone..roped or not... intentionally jump on a snow bridge? Let alone have two guys do it at once? Next question is what were they using for a belay anchor?

 

I like Gene's quote, "I would have made something work but it would have been a backup to a seated stance hip belay for sure."

 

But we are so off base to the original post...guess I wouldn't suggest buying a picket for a basic ice rack :)

 

Hey, nice TR about the guys doing two routes on Chair today!

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we are so off base to the original post...guess I wouldn't suggest buying a picket for a basic ice rack :)

 

Ah ah. No worries Dane. I already have the info I needed. Thanks all who donated knowledge! Let the picket discussion roam where it must.

 

I like pickets, and I have used them to set up running belays around scary crevasses when my rope team included inexperienced climbers. I guess if you only climb with climbing studs, you could never need one. I wouldn't have thought of having one in a purely ice rack. I like flukes too for mellow glacier routes.

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Save all the money you would spend on an ice rack, spend it on booze, and find someone who already has everything you want and just use their shit.

 

smart man

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"climbing studs"

 

This equates to knowledge + experience + skill set. CC.com runs the gamut and it is everyone's responsibilty to ferret out information that they believe in a thread such as this.

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