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  
SLJ

Alpine Climbing

Recommended Posts

of course you are getting the perfect day secarios here #1 do go slow to avoid head ach ect., so you don't get in over your head. ive seen Hood with 50 mph winds out of no where. # 2 spend the coin for the preservation of your life. #3 more people died from exposure and falls "in the old days" because they DID'NT have the gear we have. #4 if this Hobby is too expensive take up something else. This is all about ejoying the expierience and to do that you NEED good safe equipment and clothes. I wouldn't hesetate 1 nano second spending money on an item that will will ensure my safty. a bad day above ground beats a good day dead anyway you look at it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
more people died from exposure and falls "in the old days" because they DID'NT have the gear we have.

This does not have to be an expensive hobby. Better gear enables you to do more, like better tools. What killed people in "the old days" and what kills them now are bad decisions. You can do alpine climbs safely today with "old gear", but good decisions will likely dictate that they won't be the same kinds of climbs in the same kinds of conditions that you can do safely today with better gear. My point is that you don't need to spend a ton of money on hi-tech gear, and doing so buys you nothing unless you are educated and can make good decisions. You can go into the mountains with leather and wool from Goodwill and be just fine and have a grand time if you know what you are doing and make decisions that take into account your ability and your gear. Education is far more important than hi-tech gear and if you can't get it any other way than spending money on it then that should be your first financial priority, rather than throwing money at gear.

 

I'm sure the above poster agrees with this, but I thought the post seemd to say you can buy safety. You can't. And you can be safe with old school gear.

Edited by pcg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As for hood:

just ice axe and crampons, right?

Wrong. Again.. get educated. For example, we have had bluebird conditions on Hood, but I would not advise you to go up Hood south side thinking crampons and ice axe are all you need in these conditions. Why? Because conditions are so icy now that a self-arrest on a steep slope would be virtually impossible. This means you need to be roped up and belayed WITH PROTECTION,. And it is often difficult to place solid protection in ice, depending on its condition.

Again the message here is... knowledge and the ability to think clearly and make good decisions will enable you to enjoy alpine climbing and be safe. Better gear will broaden the scope of what you can do safely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Will you get frostbite without plastics? Not in the lower 48...

The poster is making a general statement, but please be aware that there are people alive today who are missing limbs and appendages due to frostbite on Mt. Hood. The cause was not lack of plastic boots. It was poor decision making.

 

Be smart. Know the limits of your equipment and your skills. Have fun!

Edited by pcg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To answer your question indirectly: Knowledge is power.

 

Class - yes.

Mentor - yes.

Mounties - yes (I know some will get on this, but they DO work for a lot of folks as a way to be introduced to the sport).

 

I found folks here on CC by posting in the partners forum. Be honest on what you're looking for and your experience and you'll stand a fair chance of a more experienced person willing to partner up and show you the ropes, so to speak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that good choices make for a safe climb but I also adhere to the ideal that good gear makes for a safe climb. I have traveled with a guy who wore crampons that were tied to his boots(summer hiking boots)litterally with raw hide strips though he was very good at many things alpine he chose the old scool of using what he had because (it works) well not for me I have good equip that I never have to worry about failing so that I can concentrate on making the best choices for my alpine ascent whether that means summit today or turn around and summit another day. much wisdom is available here in many different forms it can at times be a daunting task to dicide the coure of action to suit your situation. So what i've done in the past and still do today is read, listen, experiment until something works.

The best thing that happened to me is that I met folks that were very knowledgable. I stuck to them like glue!!! One last thing about equipment is I am very slow at choosing gear. I find out what I need and it's limitations and durability and applications before I buy. I also buy the best gear that I can Afford.

Good Luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well,

i guess i'm back to my first question:

climbs to get experience on.

"alex" seemed to think that hood in winter was a good idea, some people didn't.

some seemed to think precise "education" with guides or mentor or such) was necessary before the attempt of other climbs, some seemed to think that if you have a strong will, you can do it.

i've done scrambling... a fair amount, i have actually used a rope and some stoppers once on a particularly exposed portion of a scramble. The day before, I read about pro and ropes in "the freedom of the hills"; i don't think its rocket science (maybe im mistaken :lmao:) . No glacier experience, but in the mean time, ive taught myself how to tie and use prusiks. I have a pair of pretty old, flexible, strap on crampons, don't ask how i got them. I have an ice axe, which i have brought out on some snow shoeing trips (i actually got to use it for safety purposes on probably a 30 degree compact snow slope on Granite mountain. On that trip (I was with two other guys, one of them pretty experienced, other one pretty much beginner, i don't know if they're on CC). The more experienced one taught me some basic things about self arrest, i tried it, im not great at all, definitely could use practice. Voila! my climbing experience. I want to get into some harder stuff because i enjoy the thrill of exposure and it seems like it would be more fun.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as far as rocket science goes- no, none of this stuff seems to be. but there is a lot to be said for question-marks- is this knot appropriate for this application? is that ice stable? is that rock stable? will this snow-bridge hold my weight? is that a drift, or a snow bridge? if things get really shitty up here, will this jacket keep me alive? what do i do if it rains? what things should i have in my pack that might save my life if things get shitty? what's just wasted weight? is this little fray in my rope bad? if i screw this ice screw into this 3" ice crust, will it arrest me in a fall, or just blow out and chase me down the mountain, and tink me on the head at the bottom just to add insult to injury (death)?

 

sounds like you've got the gear- now you just need a climbing partner who knows a bit more than you.

 

i just took my buddy rock climbing at rocky butte today for the first time in his life. i'm a straight up noob myself, but with my knowledge of ropes and anchors, and our combined equipment, we had a great day rapping and top-roping the taller walls.. we won't try lead or trad until one of us has had some pointers from somebody who knows what the hell he's doing, so that we don't end up with those questions... will this hold? is this safe? can i do this? etc. we've got the motivation and the gear- but there's no point dying just because you didn't know not to back-clip, for example.

 

my perspective.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
As for hood:

just ice axe and crampons, right?

Wrong. Again.. get educated. For example, we have had bluebird conditions on Hood, but I would not advise you to go up Hood south side thinking crampons and ice axe are all you need in these conditions. Why? Because conditions are so icy now that a self-arrest on a steep slope would be virtually impossible. This means you need to be roped up and belayed WITH PROTECTION.

 

You're kidding me, right? What "better gear" are you talking about? Oh, a partner? Ok. Oh wait, but now you want protection because self arrest isnt an option. But wait, there is an option called self-belay. And solo self-belay will keep you safer than roped up to any other picket-poundin-fool on the terrain that makes up the last 1000 to the summit of Hood. If you have a partner, simul solo.

 

Get educated. Cough.

 

Ice axe and crampons for Hood, yes. Helmet must have. Harness maybe. I'm not trying to send the youth to his death but making the South Side of Hood out to be anything other than a begiinner snow route (in good weather!) is doing climbers an injustice.

 

[edit] Alright, well I wouldnt send my grandma up there even in good weather. It's not for everyone. The place is a complete circus in the Summer time. I can't believe the stuff people do - I saw a dude carting a pulaski up. I think I am just insane now.

Edited by Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You're kidding me, right? ...I am just insane now.

Alex, relax. No one is attacking you or your post. I stand by everything I posted. Maybe you should reread it.

 

My comment about "better gear" is in reference to the post I referenced. In that post the poster refers to "the gear we have", which is better gear than back in the day. I'm just making the point that better gear doesn't keep you from dying. It's what you do with the gear you have that keeps you from doing. My concern is that someone new to this might think that the key to safety is to possessing all the right stuff.

 

As for ice and crampons being all you need to climb south side Hood, I was making the point that currently that is not sufficent. Even though we have bluebird weather, the top 500' of Hood is not currently a "beginner snow route". It is hard ice.

Self belay with an ice axe is not practical on steep hard ice and I would never simu climb on steep hard ice with just crampons and ice axe.

Edited by pcg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Self belay with an ice axe is not practical on steep hard ice and I would never simu climb on steep hard ice with just crampons and ice axe.

 

There is nothing steep about the south side of Hood.

 

"steep" and "hard" are relative to your ability level. Just because you aren't comfortable doing something doesn't mean everyone else should feel the same way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Self belay with an ice axe is not practical on steep hard ice and I would never simu climb on steep hard ice with just crampons and ice axe.

 

There is nothing steep about the south side of Hood...

"steep" and "hard" are relative to your ability level. Just because you aren't comfortable doing something doesn't mean everyone else should feel the same way.

 

I'm surprised at the push back to my post. The ability level of the original poster is self-admitted "new to alpine climbing". My post was an admonition and a reminder that you can't just purchase the "right gear" and then assume you are covered. You have to know what is possible with that gear, given current conditions and your ability.

 

The poster was asking if axe and crampons were sufficient for south side Hood. I used this question to make my point - by pointing out that in current conditions (based on reports now several days old) I didn't believe they were. I'm not suggesting "everyone else should feel this way". I'm suggesting, however, that someone new to alpine climbing should.

 

Would you recommend otherwise?

 

I'm also curious, and I mean this in a sincere and respectful manner, do you believe you could self arrest reliably with just an ice axe on hard 50 degree ice?

 

Edited by pcg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:P

 

is hood really 50 degrees and solid ice?

not what ive heard (books and such)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for keeping it civil pcg. My "grandma" and "insane" comment above was a retreat because alpine climbing can be complicated, even on the South Side of Hood. While Hood is just about the easiest thing I can imagine climbing that isn't a complete hike, even in Winter, there *are* dangers - the slope below Pearly Gates can slide wicked - and I acknowledge that. But it shouldnt stop people from trudging up there.

 

I think I need to do something differently here on this thread. Oftentimes I offer advice to distill down my collective experience to the couple "key messages" to make for efficient communication. But it doesnt have the context and people have to rely on "reputation" to weigh its merit. I realize that the context in this might be more important and that advice isnt helping, so I'll just go to my own experience.

 

I climbed S Side of Hood as my first ever alpine climb, my first ever Volcano, my first ever *everything* in Dec 1993. I climbed it solo RT from Government Camp, where I lived and worked at Ski Bowl, in around 12 hours. I climbed solo. Even back then I was already an moderately experienced ice and rock climber, having climbed in NY and New England since 1988. (That shit doesnt help on Hood, though.) I started in the dark and got past top of Palmer around dawn. The day was bluebird. The air at Crater Rock was still, and temps relatively warm. At Hogsback, I put on my harness, helmet, crampons, and grith hitched ice axe to harness. I used self-belay up over the schrund, which I inspected with curiosity, and through the Pearly Gates, which were just radiating heat. I summitted without incident, and hung out on top with two guys, one who would later become my climbing partner. They had a cell phone and were calling all their friends. At that moment I realized that all my East-Coast-ego had it wrong: this wasnt a "big tick".....this was just FUN!! We all laughed and had a grand time hanging out for an hour, not much wind. We started down and the crampons - Footfangs back then - were balling bad. I just downclimbed slowly and carefully, making sure my crampons didnt ball up much, using self-belay. I got to the base of the Hogsback again and de-geared. Everything was uneventful, even though I was a complete noob. I had just soloed Hood in Winter....and it was a non-event. It complete turned around my own perception -- that I had had as an East Coast-based climber - that "alpine climbing" was both important and hard. It wasn't, it doesnt need to be. It's mental. True you need some basic skills. True you need to have some instruction. But also true you can get out there with minimal experience and not die; I am proof.

 

I've climbed Hood many times since on many routes. My most favorite were Wy'East in Winter with my wife the Steele cliff variation, and Sandy Headwall in October. I've always respected the mountain, and I dont fuck around on Hood with a marginal forecast unless I am just skiing the snowfield. But the first experience was very positive and it didnt require much more than the basics and a good forecast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is nothing steep about the south side of Hood.

 

"steep" and "hard" are relative to your ability level. Just because you aren't comfortable doing something doesn't mean everyone else should feel the same way.

 

I could not resist....

 

Hood summit, 2008

63555_1793386834322_1229206824_32140168_5564103_n.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
There is nothing steep about the south side of Hood.

 

"steep" and "hard" are relative to your ability level. Just because you aren't comfortable doing something doesn't mean everyone else should feel the same way.

 

I could not resist....

 

Hood summit, 2008

 

Shouldn't that dog be wearin' a helmet?

63555_1793386834322_1229206824_32140168_5564103_n.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
is hood really 50 degrees and solid ice?

not what ive heard (books and such)

The crux of the south side is the steep section at the Pearly Gates. This is where many people get into trouble. It's a short section and when the weather's great and the snow is good, it's a walk in the park - like Alex says. People have run up and down it in tennis shoes.

 

To me the steepest section appears to be about 50 degrees. To vertical ice climbers it doesn't seem steep... :eek: To scramblers like me with an axe it seems steep, especially when it's frozen hard. I've turned back here twice because I was concerned that I would not be able to self-arrest. Others will continue on.

 

The approach in winter (watch the avy report) is usually not ice, which makes it very doable with crampons and axe only. Here's a trip report from last week though...

As of last week, Sweet Blue bomber ice on both for a change!

Those who are not comfortable with it, bail at the Crater Rock...

"Both" references the two common south side approaches, Pearly Gates and Old Chute.

 

 

Edited by pcg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's not called the dog route for nothing! :)

I hope that dog has his blue bag with him!

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  

×