A new category on my site, beginning December, 2000.
Update: Including one pitch on the Coleman Headwall of Mount Baker, I've
43 54 pitches of ice this season (through Feb 17
28, 2001). I still consider
myself a newbie, but I'm starting to get the hang of it, and I think I'm getting
a little stronger. Here are some observations from my experience.
|The mental challenge and thrill of leading ice is like leading trad rock,
|I haven't fallen on lead yet, and I really don't want to.
|It takes a lot of physical and mental energy to place a screw. Much more
than placing a nut or a cam.
|When I really need a screw the stances disappear, the ice goes to shit,
and my muscles cramp. When I don't need one, there are placements and
stances everywhere and I feel like I could solo the pitch.
|When I get a good rest on lead, I take it.
|It is just as physically strenuous for me to second a pitch as to lead it,
I just miss out on the psychological gymnastics.
|Ice gear is sharp and tears the shit out of expensive Goretex.
|Don't overtighten leashes. Cutting off the blood supply to my hands
virtually guarantees I'll get another case of "The Dreaded Thaw",
which is what we call that glorious "my hands are warming up now
and they feel like they are being crushed in a vise" feeling.
|My current favorite clothing configuration is several layers of fleece on
top, including a Windstopper layer, all tucked into Goretex pants. I only
wear my Goretex jacket when I have to (raining, snowing, dripping, etc.)
|I prefer my randonee boots over my Lowa Civettas. With the Raichle
thermoflex liners in my Dynafit boots, they fit like a glove and I simply
|Double ropes = peace of mind.
|Screamers and Express screws good. Ice Screamers and titanium screws bad.
|TR is the time to move on marginal placements. When leading, one bad stick
leads to another. Two bad sticks leads to Loren having a mental meltdown.
|The Klubberud-Campbell rule of difficulty: The climb always looks hard
from the road, easy from the base/belay, and hard again on lead.
I'm definitely a newbie ice climber. But hey, I had all the gear I needed for
glaciers and rock, so it was a natural extension for me as a climber and gear
I guess my first experience on water ice was a few years ago in the
Commonwealth Basin. It was early season and we managed to find a little moderate
ice that wasn't covered with snow. Looking back, it was probably WI2, but it
seemed so intimidating then.
In December of 1998 I made my first trip to Lillooet, British Columbia. There
I learned the value of the crampons and axes designed specifically for vertical
ice. Charlet Moser Quasar axes and Grade 8 crampons went on the wish list.
I plan to emphasize water ice during the winter of 2000-01, so look for some
fun stuff here.