Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • olyclimber

      WELCOME TO THE CASCADECLIMBERS.COM FORUMS   02/03/18

      We have upgraded to new forum software as of late last year, and it makes everything here so much better!  It is now much easier to do pretty much anything, including write Trip Reports, sell gear, schedule climbing related events, and more. There is a new reputation system that allows for positive contributors to be recognized,  it is possible to tag content with identifiers, drag and drop in images, and it is much easier to embed multimedia content from Youtube, Vimeo, and more.  In all, the site is much more user friendly, bug free, and feature rich!   Whether you're a new user or a grizzled cascadeclimbers.com veteran, we think you'll love the new forums. Enjoy!
Sign in to follow this  
Dane

Colin "distilled"?

Recommended Posts

"Also, I have a (never used) 70cm ice axe and am curious if there is any reason to keep it if I already have ice tools, and for what."

 

Only reason I don't use a 60 or 70 cm axe there now is eveything I own is too heavy to carry. The one axe weights more than a short axe and one trekking pole. And the trekking poles are easily adjustable for size so they get my nod.

 

I wouldn't be here if it weren't for a straight shafted ice axe, 65cm Raven Pro. I hit sloppy snow conditions in early summer in the Tetons, was descending on a very steep slope with a 400 foot cliff beneath it, was on snow that constantly balled, where steps failed (yes I had crampons and yes they had good antibots), and would have made self arrest nearly impossible.

 

Twice my steps blew and I would've been a goner but my 65 cm axe was plunged to the head and held me. Had I been less careful in using the axe (plunging it in all the way every few steps) even before it became apparent how bad the snow was, or not had a proper ice axe, I hate to think of how things would have ended up.

 

There was a serious accident on Teewinot that week due to the conditions, and a fatality on South Teton later that summer that also seems to have been a slip on snow.

 

The other use for a long shafted ice axe is in setting a solid boot axe belay.

 

That length is what gives the belay strength (combined with a dynamic belay), see Pete Schoening. Unless you want to spend (waste?) cumulative hours making solid anchors out of deadmen or using pickets as deadmen, bring a longer straight axe and save yourself a big headache!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree. 60cm straight shafted tool was my guiding axe everywhere except water falls. And I climbed a lot of water fall and steep alpine ice with that axe or a 50 cm model of the same. The boot axe belay is a lost art and shouldn't be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would also add this:

 

The boot axe belay is not only time tested, but it provides a sure means (combined with self arrest) to climb snow safely without having to bring any gear other than an axe, crampons and a rope (learn to tie bowlines around the waist). No need for pickets, deadmen, rock gear, ice gear, harnesses, biners, etc. etc.

 

I have found it very amusing how some folks are so supposedly hyperlight, but have no clue as to how to take advantage of the true lightweight advantage that old school style offers on snow and low to medium angle ice.

 

Rope: Rando=39 ounces, Axe: Raven Pro=16 ounces; Total: 55 ounces.

Edited by Coldfinger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would agree that the boot axe belay is useful, there are times that this kind of belay is not appropriate. I have seen many times people using a boot axe in very bad situations and when I talked to them about it, they usually bring up the Schoening or similar arguements. Before some newbie reads this thread, reads a little of the freedom of the hills, runs out and has one fail, I would like to throw out a few thoughts on the boot axe belay.

 

-is the snow strong enough to hold the expected force applied?

Is the snow soft and new? Mushy afternoon snow? Like pickets, a frozen surface crust over mush is better than the opposite. Obviously frozen all the way down is ideal.

Also, are you catching a leader fall? (really, I have seen it) Or catching a slip on snow that is less than 45 degree steep.

 

-what would the outcome be if there is a fall?

You gotta think about the position of the fallen climber at the end of the fall to decide if the boot belay is appropriate. It is ideal if the climber can quickly get back on their feet after the catch Will they be hanging on the rope for a long period of time? (Think crevasse fall or a slide over a cliff) You will need to be holding the rope in a rather uncomfortable position and the failure of the anchor is a matter of time. Boot axe belays of people crossing fragile crevasse bridges drive me nuts. Yeah, you may hold the fall but then what? You gonna stand there all day, hunched over. What if you got to help the injured person out? How are you going to make an anchor in the snow?

 

sorry for the rant. When I hear about the virtues of boot axe belays, my skin crawls.

 

IMO, I like the seated hip belays more than the boot axe. except for the wet butts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No question a boot/axe has limitations. I would never use one to belay a leader. But it works great as a top rope belay on moderate ground.

 

Like anything in the climbing world you need to know when the tool or technique is appropriate for your skill level and in what specific conditions.

 

Great technique, easy to use and teach. Much harder to get the experience that tells you when to use a boot axe belay over other techniques.

 

Two guys, CF and GS posting on the boot/axe giving seeemingly distinctly different opinions. If I was a beginner reading the comments I would think both opinions were pretty fringe and ignore the boot axe belay all together.

 

Better I think for the beginning alpine climbers to learn the boot axe belay. Then practice it in a safe environment to learn the limitations of the technique and your own skill level.

Boot/axe bealy aint much but some times you don't need much to make a big difference in the mtns.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GP is right to a point, I just don't associate ass with shaft when holding my buddy's cord, but I do confess I've done a few bury-your-butt-in-the-snow belays, but not for leaders. Let's just remember that some very bad ass climbs were accomplished many years gone by without the modern toys, just a firm knowledge of snow and rope.

 

The trick with the boot axe is that is a VERY dynamic belay (i.e. stopping distances of 10 to 20 feet minimum), and I have used it to belay leaders and stop some rather long falls.

 

PS Boot axe is also very good for a little fun, when switching off on glissade, premature stops can be quite amusing!

 

PPS The real trick with snow is knowing when you absolutely positively cannot fall, Cordillera Blanca comes to mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think CF and I have different opinions really. I was just trying to make people think about when to use a boot axe and when not to.

 

the seated hip belay is a very dynamic belay also but I think it is easier to make it dynamic. that may be due to the training though. I never had much practice with the boot axe due mentors opinion on such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anyone take notes at Wednesday's session with Colin? I heard it was awesome.

 

Dane? You had to have been there :grin:

 

I couldn't make it due to an even class I have during the same time...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a summary from Colins talk.

 

Clothing:

- base layers

for comfort, use wool instead of capaline. wool dries out slower so it may have slower evaporative heat loss

- mid layer

use a fleece layer for colder temps. When very cold for legs, use a base layer, fleece pants then softshell pants

- pants

prefer non zip softshell vs shell. it breathes better. puff zip pant useful for very cold temps. Patagonia synthetic puff pant

- top

base layer, fleece then windshirt. Add hard shell if it gets colder. Hardshell for top since its easy to take off and on, but non zip softshell for pants.

- insulation

prefer synthetic to down because clothing in contact with snow. uses Patagonia Nano puff as warm layer for summer, add on the Das parka when it get colder.

- socks

vapor barrier socks can be useful to add warmth. something not totally VB can work too, like the REI hyperlight storm sock. a clean dry pair for sleeping is good

 

Shades

- instead of carrying goggles and shades, uses the new (not yet in USA) Addidas Terrex shades : modular so it can go from shades to goggle with nose protection

 

Essentials:

- a headlamp, food, water + stove.

- a good headlamp means you dont need to stop. lithium batteries are lighter and last longer.

- with water on route and/or ability to melt snow, a headlamp and enough food, you can keep going and get out of a bad situation

- first aid : tape and painkillers. tape used to stop blood loss.

 

Packs:

- 30L pack for day trips, 45L for overnight. 45L good for follower and 30L for leader. Colin showed a prototype patagonia pack, very simplistic, not frame (but handy foam insert)

 

Sleeping:

- sleeping bag

down a good choice unless expect wet weather, then synthetic. a bag without a zipper (draw cord) saves some weight

- sleeping pad

for snow, thermarest nano has good weight to warmth ratio (possibly add layer foam), for rock foam is better (to prevent punctures). Use a 1/2 length thicker foam for torso, foam from pack for legs. A good foam is from MEC (Evazote) in 15mm, 10mm, 5mm thickness. A smooth foam is good for when it gets some snow on, its easy to dust off, unlike 'ridgecrest'

 

Food:

- variety helps

- carbs during the day

- energy bars (pro bar, granola bars, powerbar)

- gu very good but a little heavier and expensive

- freeze dried for dinners (Mountain house)

- nuts (high in fat) good for evening because of its high but slow energy release

- protein at night: beef jerky

 

Water:

- the MSR bladder is a good balance between durability and weight

- does not use hoses on the bladder, so it essentially becomes a water bottle

- add electrolytes to water/bladder for during the day. something with little or no sugar to keep bladder clean

- nuun tabs work well

- carry no more that 3L on route or 2L during summer. find running water or melt on route to reduce carrying too much weight

 

Stoves:

- prefers canister stoves in all situations and destinations

- MSR reactor for winter. uses it on route, use hands to keep canister warm

- Jetboil for summer because its lighter than reactor

- cook in tent with good ventilation. more comfortable and keeps canister warmer and more efficient (no wind etc)

 

Tents:

- not much use for bivy sacks. where no tent can be erected, just go with pad and sleeping bag. if weather turns, bail

- single wall BD tent about the weight of 2 bivy sacks and much more comfortable and protected

- double wall tents ok for base camp situations or west buttress on denali

 

Ropes:

- single rope.

- half rope as a single. terrain not a concern for getting rope cut e.g. ice

- twins. good for when double rope raps needed. its lighter and less management than half ropes

- half ropes good for teams of 3

- single + tag line. tag line can be 7.5mm rope or better yet: for ice, use a 5mm tech cord, for rock, Esprit ropes of Canada makes a 6mm static alpine escape rope (need to call or email them since its not listed on their website)

- joining fat and skinny ropes: a well dressed and tight overhand

- pull skinny to avoid getting skinny rope twisted

- use small biner (Metolius makes a very small one) or chain link to avoid having know pull through rap. but, you are still using both ropes in device

- looks like Mammut may have a new belay device coming out that auto locks for leader and follower and allows both rope strands for raps

 

Training:

- best form is to go climbing often

- climbing gym a good second to getting strong, fast. third is crags

 

Ice tools:

- use the BD whippet instead of an ice axe

- self arrest means you screwed up, get better at being secure on snow, use anti-bods

- dont rope up unless there is pro or on a glacier

- leashless enables one to shake out more frequently making for less pump and warmer hands

- use umbilicals. BD spinner umbilical or similar

- hammer on tools very useful, not so much for adze, so mainly uses 2 hammers

- Simond makes a good third tool

 

Pro:

- cams more versatile and useful than most other types

- pitons good for alpine and winter climbing. carry a few knife baldes

- use 3mm cord loop on each piton to help racking and cleaning (by attaching a runner while cleaning)

- nuts useful for raps

- can use slings for emergency cord if you dont expect to need cord for the climb and leave cord behind. when you think you'll need to rap, take cord

- 1 cordalette per team plus two doubles instead of 2 cordalettes

- v-thread: mostly use rope through the ice and not cord. if using cord (4mm cord), an overhand knot is good enough to tie it but with long tails

- dont precut cord for v-threads, instead carry a knife and cut to size : reduces overall qty of cord needed

 

Crampons:

- vertical are good for steep ice

- horizontal for alpine because its a little lighter and does not perform much different than verticals in alpine terrain

- sometimes, when it makes sense, can replace back part of crampon with aluminum equivalent

- shorten the center bars if your is too long to save some weight

- use aluminum full strap crampons for many Cascade alpine climbs

- mono good for hard mixed but tiring otherwise, so uses mostly dual

 

Gloves:

- 2 pairs, one thin for climbing, one thicker for belaying

- uses BD Impulse (thin) and BD Punisher (thick) for moderate climates, if colder then Punisher is thin glove and use a thicker glove for the second pair

- no mittens: cant do anything when you wear them unless its a glacier slog

 

Skis:

-short skis with climbing boots for approach if many technical pitches.

-uses Silvretta 500 Backcountry Skiing Binding for mountaineering boots

-to simulate a high ski boot, uses a custom 'knee cord' to help stabilize skiing with boots: tie a cord to the front of ski (drill hole) and use a strap to strap below knee with an adjustable strap to tighten or loosen support between legs and front of ski

 

Other gear:

- BD Chaos harness works well for ice, has 4 loops

- foam helmets are good enough

- no gaters! uses an elastic cord tied to the bottom of pants to sling over bottom of boot to keep the pants over the boot. make sure you sling the boot after you put on the crampons

 

Strategy:

- photos of decent proved very useful in his latest climb in AK when having to reroute the descent route after the ascent

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

interesting that

- he uses windshell + fleece ... not some yuppie softshell for the top

- doesnt use mitts

- doesnt use bivy sacks

- uses foam helmets

- doesnt use gaiters

- uses aluminum crampons for many climbs

- uses a whippet instead of an ice axe

 

obviously we are not all at colin's level (well me anyways) ... but it looks like a lot of mountaineering is being rethought

 

its funny because im re-thinking all my layers on a similar line ... and i just got a snowscopic which is 50g heavier than the whippet but with more credible self arrest

 

thanks for taking the notes

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Crampons:

- vertical are good for steep ice

- horizontal for alpine because its a little lighter and does not perform much different than verticals in alpine terrain

- sometimes, when it makes sense, can replace back part of crampon with aluminum equivalent

- shorten the center bars if your is too long to save some weight

- use aluminum full strap crampons for many Cascade alpine climbs

- mono good for hard mixed but tiring otherwise, so uses mostly dual

 

In bold is what you are refuring to?

 

 

If so I think he is talking about something like the Grivel Air Tech Light Crampons

 

 

REI Grivel Air Tech Crampons

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the slinging the boot refers to using the pant legs tied down around the boots instead of using gaiters. Not using full strap crampons.

 

I think whoever wrote it down might have gotten it wrong. Makes more sense to tie it down before putting crampons on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, he specifically said to sling *over* the crampon. Said it was a pain in the ass to re-lace or adjust your boots, since now you have to dump the crampons to pull the pant leg up to get to the boots.

 

Put the shock cord over the crampon, and you can just pull it right off and relace without touching the spiky things.

 

Can't say I've ever actually adjusted my boots with crampons on myself (Figure the straps would get in the way?), but that was Mr. Haley's logic during the session.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The devil's in the details....

 

Crampons:

- vertical are good for steep ice

 

Not quite right, from conversations and my notes he said they are good for HARD ice, as in hard as concrete..Alaaska is a good example...any thing works on steep ice...no real difference between styles of front points.

 

- horizontal for alpine because its a little lighter and does not perform much different than verticals in alpine terrain

 

correct...also helps if you weigh in at 150# for the support offered to not matter.

 

- sometimes, when it makes sense, can replace back part of crampon with aluminum equivalent

 

It works but you want to limit that to snow and ice routes only...rocks will eat them up and dull them quickly..it saves a TOTAL of 6oz per pair.

 

- shorten the center bars if your is too long to save some weight

 

- use aluminum full strap crampons for many Cascade alpine climbs

 

The Black Diamond Neve is the pon of choice.

 

- mono good for hard mixed but tiring otherwise, so uses mostly dual

 

First part is right...

Not what I heard or wrote down on the second part, always uses dual points...climbs on what he takes to the mountains

 

Pant elastic goes over the crampon...much easier to adjust your boot laces that way :)

 

Grivel? Where did you get that non sense :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Black Diamond Neve is the pon of choice.

 

Grivel? Where did you get that non sense :)

 

I'm on a mission to save weight and am about to buy a pair of full strap Al crampons to replace my steel for climbs where I will be on snow/ice only. I'll be wearing them over everything from hiking boots to my AT boots. Why is the BD Neve preferred over the Grivel Air Tech Light?

Edited by pcg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Black Diamond Neve is the pon of choice.

 

Grivel? Where did you get that non sense :)

 

I'm on a mission to save weight and am about to buy a pair of full strap Al crampons to replace my steel for climbs where I will be on snow/ice only. I'll be wearing them over everything from hiking boots to my AT boots. Why is the BD Neve preferred over the Grivel Air Tech Light?

 

I have the Grivel Air Tech Light and my only complaint is that the downward facing points seem too short. This has caused problems when there is a thin layer of soft snow over neve or ice. The crampons kind of 'float' on top of the slop and don't penetrate to the ice making for insecure footing. Maybe the Black Diamond Neve has longer points?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dane. They happen to be the ones I picked up. I personally like them for what I do. But I am not a mountain hardman.

 

PCG, I agree. Wish the points were a bit longer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why is the BD Neve preferred over the Grivel Air Tech Light?

 

Kinda a joke guys...as Colin is sponsored by Black Diamond ;)

 

Grivle makes good pons as does Bd. I use both but only own the aluminum version from BD. Been climbing so far this season with a Sabertooth/Neve hybred that Colin talked about. They work great till the aluminum gets beat up. I like saving weight obviously but 6oz is little penality for the durability involved by staying with steel front and back. Wish it weren't so.

 

PB140184.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

×