Climbing Extreme he

As you approach the vertical, there will come a time when you will no longer be able to stand in balance over your frontpoints. Although it is possible by brute strength to hold yourself vertically up against the ice, a far more efficient method is something I have termed the monfcey hang

Beginning at the bottom of a near-vertical, vertical, or gently overhanging section of ice, the correct sequence is as follows:

1. Plant both hand tools comfortably high and far enough apart so that there is no danger of fracturing out the ice between them. Now, hanging straight-armed from the tools and letting the wrist loops do their intended job of holding the heel of the hand so as to allow a light grip on the shafts, walk your feet up the ice until you are in a mild crouch. Since your buttocks are away from the ice in this position, your weight will be pushing your frontpoints into the ice rather than applying a shear force.

2. Now look ahead and choose the exact spot where you will make your next placement. Still hanging straight-armed, loosen the appropriate tool in preparation for easy removal and replacement.

3. With your loosened tool merely hooked in its hole, keep your eyes glued to the exact spot you have chosen for replanting it and, in one smooth sequence, stand up, remove the tool, and positively replant it in the chosen spot,

4. At the instant of penetration, ascertain that the placement is solid and trustworthy and instantly weight the tool with a straight arm. This leaves you in position to replant the other tool and repeat the sequence, or to remove an ice screw or piton from your rack and place protection for continuing the lead. This one-handed method of

Text co«tinH« on page 156

Below: We broke oar first climb. Tabular Bells, in the Uncompahgre Gorge into two short, distinctive pitches.

Left: Tc Improve footwork and Increase awareness of the configuration and qualify of the fee, we speat some lima climbing without hand tools on a steep loproped pitch. I have always foand this an enjoyable and eye-opening exorcise, where al free rock-climbing techniques «mm into play Bird's natural finesse was evident, and I think she profaned to dtmb without the awkward tools in her hands.

Below: We broke oar first climb. Tabular Bells, in the Uncompahgre Gorge into two short, distinctive pitches.

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At»»: On a good ledge between two pfllcrs I set op a Inlay. With the pkfc of my he tool I made a goad starting hole for on ice screw Then I pieced a screw about S" or 10" beyond perpendicular to the surface of the Ice ... and continued turning it In until the eye was Audi to the surface.

At»»: On a good ledge between two pfllcrs I set op a Inlay. With the pkfc of my he tool I made a goad starting hole for on ice screw Then I pieced a screw about S" or 10" beyond perpendicular to the surface of the Ice ... and continued turning it In until the eye was Audi to the surface.

loft: I plated a second Strew two loot above the first nod dipped a double-length miner into bath. I lied myself into a cnrebfner which t hod dipped Title a twist in the runner in such a way as to equalize the force on ihe screws. I bached up the belay with my tools and dipped the rope to Bird through the upper anchor. H we had been swinging leads this would have been Bird's first point of protection as she passed me ami began her pitch.

When Bird fallowed she vied «»re noturol handholds that I hod—a style she was ropMty developing. On a toprope this seemed a good way for her to conserve energy, but on the lead poshing the use of natural holds loo for con sometimes be more precarious than using the tools. This pitch was on eicelenl introduction to WIS- climbing.

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Above: On the next lead I took the steepest line an the pillar, using a modified monkey-hang technique on the WI5+ crux I waited until I could strnid on o basketball-sized lamp of ke to place a runner around a small natural column and back that up with a drive-In tube piton. Thus, well-protected, I walked my feet high in an L-posilion, which allowed me to clear the bulge at the top of the pillar in a secure and controled manner. Below: Bird found the climbing very strenuous, with few opportunities for natural handholds. In particular chopping the piton most of the way out used a good portion of her reserves. From this point on she would call tube pitons "the dreaded drive-ins!" Even so, she shook oat and successfully climbed to the top.

Our MXt dimb was a new route we caled Birdcage, la honor of ny student. We avoided a possible easier start and began by doing a strenuous diagonal traverse at tbe Bp of an overhang fifteen feet above tin ground. I was forced to frontpoint on iddes below tbe rock root and make a series of dfogonal cross-over pick placements (left)... until I could finaly stand up and get a good stick in Aider Ice on tbe vertical slab above (WI6-) (lower right) A stretch of easier dhnbing ended another short pitch on a two-foot-wide belay ledge. I placed rock anchors bore (upper right).

Atrave: Bird followed the firit pitch extremely well, and it become obvious to me once again fust bow valuable a solid background in free climbing can be to a beginning ke climber. Although it would be Imprudent of Bird to begin leading ke very soon, she was able to progress rapidly through the levels of difficulty and eajoy each new tedinktd challenge, finding satisfaction even on a toprope. Right: Hie second pilch began with one feet mtd oae band o* rack and the other foot and hand on fee.

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I found ktiifeblade protection in the rock for the difficult pick-twqvefng, I ¡«backing, and stemming moves (M6) to get eitaUlfbed on tl» hanging ice. While hanging straight-«rmed from n good placement of my left tool, I placed a bomb-proof screw in solid he of the base of the upper pillar.

A couple of diagonal pkk placements {lower left)... ok) step-through lieback crampon moves {upper left)...

... allowed me ta pull left around the comer auto Hm frort «I the pilar,, where there wot a ledge to put oh loot Bat and take a break. The find vertical pillar was still steep {WIS) but offered perfect terrain for dassk monkey-hang technique.

Bird found the mixed moves— frontpofnts m rock and pld» torqueing ii crocks—to be dttmiy and strong«, but the puzzled them out in a show of the phlegmatic fortitude that Is oh of bor greatest strengths as a (Mm. She had to battle with another "dreaded driveIn" I had placed In the upper jriflor, but onw she hod removed ft si» dbnbed In textbook straight-arm, butt-out, feet-

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When she readied me, she was griming and opoidy enthusiastic about her Introduction to the joy of complex movement Involved hi trig It level Ice climbing*

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