Advice

Wednesday 4 February 2015, 2:34pm
frazer.attrill

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Ben Dare on Professor Falls.

Creator: 
Jo-Anne

Ben Dare on Professor Falls.

Creator: 
Jo-Anne
1. Drop your heels - This is the most classic and common problem for people beginning ice climbing. Raising your heels too high can cause your front points to shear from the ice quickly and unexpectedly. Ideally heels should be so that your boots are completely horizontal, regardless of ice angle.
 
 
Wednesday 14 January 2015, 10:09am
Rose Pearson

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A selection of the kit that we used climbing each day - Ice axes (Petzl Quarks), crampons (Petzl Lynx), 40l pack, 1l thermos capacity, screamers, screws, abseil-tat, anchor set-up and sandwiches.

Creator: 
Jaz Morris

A selection of the kit that we used climbing each day - Ice axes (Petzl Quarks), crampons (Petzl Lynx), 40l pack, 1l thermos capacity, screamers, screws, abseil-tat, anchor set-up and sandwiches.

Creator: 
Jaz Morris

Ice climbing requires a surprising amount of equipment. First off there is all the gear to actually climb the ice, then there is the gear to protect the climb, and finally there is all the equipment you wear to stay warm in temperatures potentially below -20C. This article details the equipment we found to be most useful while ice climbing in Canada one January. We were generally climbing 3+ pitch routes, but we also spent some time both cragging and doing longer routes. Conditions varied from -25C (In Maligne Canyon) to 0C (On the Weeping Wall).

Wednesday 14 January 2015, 9:44am
jazmorris

What to wear for a day's winter climbing is a source for endless debate, and everyone will have different ideas about what constitutes the ideal system. What is undebatable is the end goal - being warm, dry, and actually able to climb, in a range of temperatures and conditions. That means that the basic clothes I wear never change, whether it's 0°C and sleeting in New Zealand or -30°C and dry in Canada.

Tuesday 5 August 2014, 11:15pm
steven.fortune

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Steve Fortune and Daniel Joll high up on the West Rib of Denali, Alaska, during a successful climb to the summit.

Creator: 
Matthew Scholes

Steve Fortune and Daniel Joll high up on the West Rib of Denali, Alaska, during a successful climb to the summit.

Creator: 
Matthew Scholes

Alpine climbing is extremely physically demanding. Most other sports have a history and culture of systematic training. Yet in alpine climbing, despite these demands, and the potential benefits that training can bring, few do. Many climbers come from outside this culture of mainstream sports, so do not have the background in training to apply themselves, and there are no coaches out there to guide you. There is good knowledge out there on training for endurance sports and for rock climbing, but not covering the wide spectrum of demands involved in doing long, hard routes in the mountains.

Sunday 20 July 2014, 4:05am
daniel.joll

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Ben Dare abseiling off the south face of Barrier Peak in the Darran Mountains after an aborted first ascent attempt

Creator: 
Daniel Joll

Ben Dare abseiling off the south face of Barrier Peak in the Darran Mountains after an aborted first ascent attempt

Creator: 
Daniel Joll

It surprises me how few mountain climbers understand or know a safe and simple method to abseil down a climb leaving minimal gear. Usually if you plan to abseil down a climb either placing your own abseil points or by using old ones already in place you will need a few basic things.

In addition to your standard rack of climbing gear pack some extra 6mm cord. (usually around 10m), a knife, two screamers (expanding quick draws), short prussic, belay device, daisy/safety chain, and your ropes.

Sunday 19 January 2014, 7:59am
daniel.joll

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Daniel Joll preparing some insulation from the snow in a rock bivvy under the East Face of Torre Egger, Patagonia.

Creator: 
Steve Fortune

Daniel Joll preparing some insulation from the snow in a rock bivvy under the East Face of Torre Egger, Patagonia.

Creator: 
Steve Fortune

In fine weather a unplanned or a planned bivvy generally involves little suffering. Fine weather can also be very forgiving when it comes to small mistakes in gear management. Bivvying can be broken into two categories. Planned and Unplanned. I will start with the planned type, as an unplanned bivvy is more about enduring with what you have rather than planning for something you know is coming.

Thursday 8 August 2013, 8:44pm
Jamie Vinton-Boot

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Jamie Vinton-Boot on the 1st pitch of Los Indignados, Telecom Towers.

Creator: 
Troy Mattingley

Jamie Vinton-Boot on the 1st pitch of Los Indignados, Telecom Towers.

Creator: 
Troy Mattingley

So you’ve got the basics of ice and mixing climbing sorted and would like to get proficient on steeper (i.e. vertical to overhanging) or more difficult routes. The only sure way to do this is to climb more, but in addition there a whole range of practical things to work on that can help you along the way.  Below are ten of the things that have worked for me (but I’m by no means good at).   

Friday 12 July 2013, 8:25pm
Reg Measures

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Reg Measures climbing Viva Gell on the Grands Rocheuse

Creator: 
Timmy Elson

Reg Measures climbing Viva Gell on the Grands Rocheuse

Creator: 
Timmy Elson

Most alpine climbers use V-threads (Abalakov threads) occasionally (if you don’t know how to do a v-thread you may want to google that before reading further), but not many choose to set out on a climb planning to use them to descend many hundreds of metres down a large ice face. I used to think of V-threads as something for ice cragging and occasional use in the mountains but I’d never considered that a steep ice face could actually be a sensible, safe and fast way to get off a big peak.

Wednesday 10 July 2013, 7:53am
daniel.joll

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Daniel Joll leading on an ascent of the Brenna ridge Mt Guilmette Fitz Roy Massif

Creator: 
James Meighan

Daniel Joll leading on an ascent of the Brenna ridge Mt Guilmette Fitz Roy Massif

Creator: 
James Meighan

There is nothing more frustrating than moving slowly on a long multi pitch route. Saving a few minutes on each pitch can often mean the difference between spending an unplanned night out, getting caught by a change in the weather or making it back to camp early with enough time to be rested for the next day of climbing. Learning how to safely increase your efficiency and speed on a multi-pitch route will also open the door to longer challenging climbs.

Sunday 9 June 2013, 10:27am
steven.fortune

Sometimes you want to climb on a single rope, (for example, shortfixing and second is jugging) but still want to do full length abseils. Rather than bring a 2nd full rope to abseil off, you can bring a lightweight tag line (6mm). This is too thin and weak to abseil directly on, but can be used to pull your main rope down.

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