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dbogardus


Dec 16, 2010, 6:32 AM
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Info for Beginning Ice
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Just finished my first season leading on gear. I'm familiar with the basics of self rescue (e.g. friction knots, getting off belay) but am still not comfortable with other aspects like counterbalance rappelling and passing knots.

I'm looking to get my feet wet with some tame ice experience this winter with the eventual goal being mountaineering. Several questions:

- Do you consider it absolutely necessary to understand self rescue inside and out before beginning ice or mixed?
- While obviously closely related, I'm not aware of the specific skill sets which relate to both ice and alpine. Can you recommend any literature on ice and mixed which will give the best background for alpine? "Mountaineer's Series", Luebben's book?

On a separate topic, I'm also looking for information on roped soloing. I do not intend to start this any time soon but I want to read up. So far, it has been a difficult topic to find lots of quality info on.

Please don't tell me to do a search or get a guide. I already know that. This is merely supplemental material I'm looking for.

Flame on.

- Dave


coastal_climber


Dec 16, 2010, 8:30 AM
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Re: [dbogardus] Info for Beginning Ice [In reply to]
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dbogardus wrote:
- Do you consider it absolutely necessary to understand self rescue inside and out before beginning ice or mixed?

Its not required, but its a good idea. There are tons of climbers who do not know self-rescue and still go climbing.


dbogardus wrote:
- While obviously closely related, I'm not aware of the specific skill sets which relate to both ice and alpine. Can you recommend any literature on ice and mixed which will give the best background for alpine? "Mountaineer's Series", Luebben's book?

Will Gadds book: Ice & Mixed Climbing
Mark Twight: Extreme Alpinism

dbogardus wrote:
On a separate topic, I'm also looking for information on roped soloing. I do not intend to start this any time soon but I want to read up. So far, it has been a difficult topic to find lots of quality info on.

I believe its covered in a book called "Speed climbing" as well as other big-wall/aid climbing books.


summerprophet


Dec 16, 2010, 8:59 AM
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Re: [dbogardus] Info for Beginning Ice [In reply to]
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dbogardus wrote:
- Do you consider it absolutely necessary to understand self rescue inside and out before beginning ice or mixed?
Depends upon the area. It used to be required, but with roadside ice, and bolted mixed routes becoming more common, ice is getting closer and closer to sport climbing.
As you approach Alpine climbing, it becomes more and more needed. The further out you are, the more self sufficient you need to be. Self rescue/ avalanche/First aid courses are not sexy, but they are building blocks to protect your ass in the event of bad shit happening. Ina ddition to the basics, seek out a first aid injury management class beyond basic CPR. Even better if they focus on outdoor injuries away from standard medical suppliies.


altelis


Dec 16, 2010, 10:01 AM
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summerprophet wrote:
dbogardus wrote:
- Do you consider it absolutely necessary to understand self rescue inside and out before beginning ice or mixed?
Depends upon the area. It used to be required, but with roadside ice, and bolted mixed routes becoming more common, ice is getting closer and closer to sport climbing.
As you approach Alpine climbing, it becomes more and more needed. The further out you are, the more self sufficient you need to be. Self rescue/ avalanche/First aid courses are not sexy, but they are building blocks to protect your ass in the event of bad shit happening. Ina ddition to the basics, seek out a first aid injury management class beyond basic CPR. Even better if they focus on outdoor injuries away from standard medical suppliies.

Adding to this, I would say it also depends on your general level of winter mountain comfort. Have you done any winter camping before? Back-country skiing?

If not, I would suggest getting a decent understanding of:

1) Avalanche terrain. You don't need to take a full on course. You don't need to have or know how to use transceivers.

HOWEVER (and especially if you DON"T know those things) you should be very comfortable identifying avalanche terrain so you can avoid it. This means identifying slope and conditions prone to slide, ice routes that may require crossing avalanche terrain to get to them, or routes that have avalanche terrain above them (not uncommon). You will also need the ability to make the decision not to venture into terrain that you feel is unstable, or whose safety you feel you can't adequately judge. Not such a big deal for roadside ice, bigger deal for alpine climbing.

2) Winter Camping You don't necessarily need to go out and just winter camp without any other goals. But as you get into alpine climbing, this is a serious skill to have. You need to be know how to stay warm, dry, and sheltered in the winter, esp above tree line. I would either find somebody who has skills and go out on an easy mountaineering trip, without much needed technical skills. Either pick a 2 day route or pick a 1 day route and plan on taking a lot of extra time for them to teach you how to set up camp, maybe make a good snow cave, etc.

OR, if you have solid camping skills already, you can read some books and do the same thing as mentioned above. I would maybe pick some objective where you can camp very close to the car, and do a non-technical route the next morning. Close enough to the car you aren't really in danger if you mess up, but far away enough that its not just car camping in the snow.

If you are from New England, something like Mt. Chocorua would be perfect. You can camp off the Kank, and do the summit the next day. Only need to go a mile or two from the road, and if you really mess up, are getting too cold, or didn't stay dry, etc. you can trudge back to the car.

Again, if you are only doing roadside ice, this isn't crucial. But if you are getting into alpine climbing and don't know how to safely camp or bivy in the snow you could easily die of exposure.


Colinhoglund


Dec 16, 2010, 1:40 PM
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Re: [dbogardus] Info for Beginning Ice [In reply to]
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dbogardus wrote:
Just finished my first season leading on gear. I'm familiar with the basics of self rescue (e.g. friction knots, getting off belay) but am still not comfortable with other aspects like counterbalance rappelling and passing knots.

I'm looking to get my feet wet with some tame ice experience this winter with the eventual goal being mountaineering. Several questions:

- Do you consider it absolutely necessary to understand self rescue inside and out before beginning ice or mixed?
- While obviously closely related, I'm not aware of the specific skill sets which relate to both ice and alpine. Can you recommend any literature on ice and mixed which will give the best background for alpine? "Mountaineer's Series", Luebben's book?

On a separate topic, I'm also looking for information on roped soloing. I do not intend to start this any time soon but I want to read up. So far, it has been a difficult topic to find lots of quality info on.

Please don't tell me to do a search or get a guide. I already know that. This is merely supplemental material I'm looking for.

Flame on.

- Dave

Self-rescue is always a good idea. Finally took a guided course this summer, learned way more then I could have from a book (which i had done before). Remember it's not just knowing the skills, but practicing them.

Books, Crag Luebben's book is quite good, I have it and would recommend it.

As for getting your feet wet. Do a lot of seconding and top-roping before going for the lead. Ice is a lot more dangerous to lead than gear. Even if your screws hold (some do some don't . . .) your highly likely to catch a crampon on the ice and flip/break an ankle. Think of leading as soloing. Put it this way, I lead 5.10 trad, I'll solo maybe a short 5.7. I lead grade 3 ice, and I've soloed grade 3 Ice. Hope that helps your mindset on learning vs leading.

Hope that helps.


bearbreeder


Dec 16, 2010, 2:01 PM
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Re: [dbogardus] Info for Beginning Ice [In reply to]
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best books on alpine climbing and self rescue ive seen yet ... gives practical explanations and techniques

http://www.amazon.com/...292536715&sr=1-1



http://www.amazon.com/...292536764&sr=1-2




gunkiemike


Dec 16, 2010, 2:05 PM
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Lots of good advice here so far, though much of it addresses your long term goals (leading on ice, multi-day routes above tree line etc). I'll chip in my $0.02 on your goal re. trying some easy ice climbing. You're in the Northeast, so this means roadside top-roping. REAL low commitment there. No need for avalanche training etc. Toss your summer climbing kit in the car, rent/borrow some ice boots, technical axes and crampons and have at it. Go with someone who can teach you, of course, but it's pretty easy and in a few hours you'll know if you want to do more of it.

The bad news is that NE ice usually is steep water ice, which doesn't really prepare you for technical alpine terrain (50-60 degree neve and such). But it's a start. Once you can climb grade 3 water ice on TR, get someone to lead you up some ravine gullys on Mt Washington. That's closer to what you seem to be interested in as a long term goal.


skiclimb


Dec 18, 2010, 9:44 AM
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Really excellent advice here. Nice to see serious advice being given without flames for once.

Since most of the stuff has been covered pretty well I will address a couple small items.

For daytrip toproping where weight isn't a huge factor take a couple or three pairs of gloves as even good gloves can get soaked pretty fast, on wet days anyway.

Second knot bypass is a good skill to learn and is fun to play around with at home when your bored some evening. Not really necessary for toproping trips though. Takes some time to figure it out but it's a good excuse to play with your gear at home.


(This post was edited by skiclimb on Dec 18, 2010, 9:46 AM)


qwert


Dec 19, 2010, 2:43 AM
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altelis wrote:
1) Avalanche terrain. You don't need to take a full on course. You don't need to have or know how to use transceivers.

HOWEVER (and especially if you DON"T know those things) you should be very comfortable identifying avalanche terrain so you can avoid it. This means identifying slope and conditions prone to slide, ice routes that may require crossing avalanche terrain to get to them, or routes that have avalanche terrain above them (not uncommon). You will also need the ability to make the decision not to venture into terrain that you feel is unstable, or whose safety you feel you can't adequately judge. Not such a big deal for roadside ice, bigger deal for alpine climbing.
I dont really agree with this (apart from the roadside ice aspect).
While you could stay safe by simply staying out of avalanche terrain, this is nearly impossible, in all but snowless or totally flat terrain. Identifiying dangerous spots takes some skills and practice, and there is no use of learning just that, without learning all the other aspects of it.

skiclimb wrote:
For daytrip toproping where weight isn't a huge factor take a couple or three pairs of gloves as even good gloves can get soaked pretty fast, on wet days anyway.
While this probably goes into quite specific details, staying warm is quite the important skill! Read on the subject, and try to find a system that works for you. Try around on toprope/ low commitment stuff until you got "your system" figured out. Its not rocket science, but staying warm while switching between moving and standing (belaying) in subzero conditions, while constantly getting wet from flowing, ice cold water is not easy.

And what everyone already said: Ice requires more commitmen, and is more dangerous than most other aspects of climbing.
As mentioned, you really really dont want to fall with all those sharp, pointy things on you, and also dont underestimate the fact the the climber will send ice chunks and icecycles of all sizes down. So keep that in mind when belaying/ looking for a place to stay for your belayer! (and use a helmet, but do all you can to avoid having to use it)

qwert


bearbreeder


Dec 19, 2010, 10:51 AM
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just to add to the winter skills

if you havent hiked outdoors yet ... make sure you do that and get your clothing system dialed on winter dayhikes

nothing sucks more than getting soaked in sweat with wet clothes when the sun goes down and going hypothermic

sweating in winter means death


pakeeza1990


Jan 5, 2011, 1:54 AM
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nice information you have provide here i am very glad to read it and i must appriciate your comments and i love them ..
thanks by the post
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