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pnwdevin

Short Ice Pitch Practice

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Hi there,

 

New user to cascade climbers. I am just getting into alpine ice climbing and was looking to practice my skills on short top rope pitches close to the Tacoma area. Any of you know anywhere I can find some short pitches of ice, preferably within several hours of the Tacoma Seattle area that I could practice my skills? I just need to get the feet in before I feel more comfortable climbing steeper ice and snow while leading, and the best way to do this seems like in a controlled top rope environment. Thanks in advance!

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You could go to Rainier and play in a crevasse, lower in and climb back out. Glacier ice is very different than water ice, but as far as using tools in July goes, basically your only option besides flying (or driving) to the southern hemisphere...

 

Goodluck! Once winter rolls around there are generally several pitches around Snoqualmie Pass to sample.

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Yeah. I have played around on the Coleman glacier on Baker a bit, but Rainier is much closer to me. Bet there is some suitable crevasses on the Nisqually low somewhere.

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I bet you could find some pretty sweet long pitches to do, overhanging ice and other good stuff. Keep in mind, most alpine ice is quite easy. Becoming comfortable moving up, down, and sideways on 60 degree boilerplate is an extremely useful skill. Another thing to practice, belaying up a second in autoblock mode and reeling in the slack as they basically run up the ice, staying on their feet and just using the ice tools for balance (think Ueli running up the summit icefield of the Eiger).

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The coleman is easily the most accessible. Yep, it's farther. But there is so much more area to practice and a much easier approach than any of the Rainier locations. Yeah, the lower Nisqually, but honestly, I think it will take you longer to get to that than to just bite the bullet and go to the coleman. On the other hand, I've found the best training for yearly ice is - HARD CLIMBING IN THE GYM and FAUX MIXED CLIMBING with THESE: http://www.dryicetools.com/

 

I've been climbing ice hard for 5 years and have been prepared for each season by hard training in the climbing gym mostly - and some cardio for approaches. I usually bug out of town and head to Bozeman or Ouray but I've also climbed a bit at Alpental and Banks Lake. I'd love to get up to Canmore, but I just haven't found the time or vacation.

 

Coleman is great because you can swing tools, find great short pitches, toprope and even put up a few contrived multipitch lines - I love practicing there. The best part is that there is enough solid serac areas that you don't have to climb inside a crevasse - you can put a strong day of training together WITHOUT lowering and climbing out.

 

Good luck!

 

(And let me know if you need a set of technical ice crampons, I'm going to be putting up some Rambo 4 crampons for sale).

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what gym lets you use those dry ice tools? the Redmond VW would not let me use them unless the area was roped off (dropped tools) and it had to be a TR. (no lead or auto belay) even with that, they still may not let me use it there.

 

I should ask again.

 

 

for the OP question. another option that I am gonna build this summer is a adjustable plice wall. no swinging involved but lots of set, step and pull. search for will gadd and plice.

 

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Thanks for all the responses! Looks like I will head back to the Coleman for some practice at some point!

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