Climbing Mixed Ice and Rock

fee climbing, as defined in this book, includes climbing on rock and ice simultaneously, climbing snowed-up rock with crampons and/or hand tools, and making the occasional move or series of moves on dry rock that may be necessary to connect bits of ice. Mixed climbing tends to defy analysis. Virtually every move is different, and you are, in fact, inventing the best techniques as you go. This sort of climbing provides the greatest challenge and intrigue, i have a few suggestions.

Crampons on Rotk

On rock holds, frontpoints often provide the most secure foot placements,- but whether you have placed the front- or sidepoints on a hold, any movement of your foot will tend to make dual frontpoints "walk" off the hold. Monopoints eliminate this problem. On very low-angle, smooth slabs, keeping all crampon points in contact with the rock will yield better results than trying to edge or frontpoint. On slightly steeper slabs the opposite is true, and a single point on a tiny crystal may provide all the purchase you are going to get,

Dry Tooting

All the moves that you make in free climbing on rock without tools—Liebacks, mantels, crack jams, and so on—you can also make with tools. You have the additional choice of using any hold with your hand or your tool. Planning moves in advance is a complex exercise, but crucial for smooth movement on the hardest routes.

You can hook small or large edges with your tools. This requires a proper, steeply hooked pick configuration Ice axes or hammers with steeply drooped picks hook well on rock holds, but if they are too steeply drooped, you will have difficulty getting them into corner cracks to torque them. A moderate droop or curve with a sharp hook configuration at the very tip of the pick permits the best torqueing, slotting, and camming in cracks, and still hooks well.

Torqueing is an art in itself. Any part of the axe can be used. The pick fits blade cracks well and, with pressure to the side of the shaft, can be used in slightly wider cracks. The adze takes over where the pick leaves off. Sometimes the thick part of the head at the junction of the pick can be used in a constriction, like a nut. The adze may also be used for these maneuvers, which are often combined with lieback-ing technique to move upward. Especially if the shaft is rubber-coated, it may provide a good hold in a constriction or when liebacking a wide, vertical crack. Because of its oval cross section, the shaft in its narrow profile can be inserted into cracks of roughly the same size, then cammed by pulling sideways on the pick. In wider cracks, you can lieback off a shaft that is inserted deeply into the crack.

Most picks from the factory {tap] need modification. Property modified picks [bottom) have a very steep hooking angle at the first tooth, and the teeth are beveled oh the sides, allowing positive hooking and easier removal (Photo: Ian Tomlimon)

Rigid Designator Ice Climb

In the area of Vail's dassk Rigid Designator, we couid work on advanced technique for mixed climbing and ihttt ice. In the higher levels of difficulty (classes 6,1, and 8), the cfimbmg is most often mixed, thin, or both. (Photo: Ion hmtmsoo)

Sometimes it is necessary to climb from under an overhang onto the back side of a hanging curtain and, once there, turn the corner out onto the front face. In this specialized situation use the orangutan hang, which requires skill in a backhand tool swing. You must practice this technique before you use it if you want to be able to get reasonably good sticks with your tools. The sequence begins with the backhand swing, then hang with arms outstretched, turn to face the ice curtain and scrunch up onto your frontpointS; place your other tool near the corner and, with the aid of a high heel hook around the side of the curtain, lever your body up into a position where you can plant a tool out on the face of the curtain and turn the corner.

Above hs, gray rock showed here and there, with only tbin itmifes oj ice. Time for gloves off and a hit of the bare-knuckit stuff, groping for rode holds in the powder and under verglas. It

Neil Pothier Rock Climber

was painfully slow, with the hot aches to be endured, and if was an hour before I could traverse round a ¡idle corner hack to where the gully reasserted itself Here there u>tis a cave of sorts and a bulging section beyond, where a chocks lour barred the way. Wt had arrived at the famous crux pitch. A crack owr 0« the right seemed to offer the test hope. One crampon scraped its way up this whiht the other scratched at a slab on the left as a mi tinted hand fumbled for rack holds. Sometimes a mittmed bandjam worked best at other times a quick lob of the pick into a dribble of ice or a frozen sod. It was a st/fe of climbing typical of the cliff's harder routes —Paul Nurm, describing Britain's Western Cully in

CofJ Climbs, Diadem Press

Text conlwues 0« page 179

Below: We storied «it on a dimb colled the Little Thong, behind the famous free-standing pillar of the Fang—which was unformed The dimb begins with steep M6 dry tooling past three bolts to readi the ice. fn these situations, a property shaped hooking pick is crucial You always have a choice to make: whether to grab a hold with your fingers or hook it with yovr tool, (Photos: fan Tnmlinson)

Ahove: Dry-tooling techniques include using different parts of the head, anvil, or adxe of the one as nuts or in torquelng mode in cracks of various sites. (Photo: Brad Johnson)

Rock Climbing Thong

dipping protection requires dexterity In yew glove system (above). After dipping the bolt I hong bock on straight onus and took a short reit before continuing. Hie reit was just enough to allow me to cflmh the thin ice with the predslon tool placements and ntonopoinl delicacy required. Most ölten I would pkxe my nwnopoints hi the boles left by my pkks (bottom right). As the ice thkhoned I followed the poth of lewt resistance, staying directly hi balance over my feet by cross-through froatpotnting (upper light).

¡Photos: Ion Tmlimnl

Rock Climbing ThongRock Climbing Thong

The Util« Thong b m the right. A direct start to the larger flow of ice on the left Is called the Seventh Toatcxki,

Far climbs Hie these that end under a roof on thick he, a Y-tkreod is n clean, easy, and appropriate rappel anchor. (Photo: Ian Tomlinson}

Rappel AnchorsRappel Anchors

Squatting on the blade and lotting a knee behind an kt<le (lower left)... took the weight off my anus... and allowed me ta make a controlled and careful pkk placement in tbe ice above the overhang (upper left).. . ot which point I stemmed oat to an idele with my left foot, replanted my right tool higher, and stemmed with my right frontpafnt as weR (above tight), which alfowerf me to estahlih myself above tbe overhang. (Photos: Ion lomiiftm)

BH NMivtlad at Hw pncWm aid ul "y of crampons oad pkks b dry toahg and took To this sfylt ef dlmbing as an oxtMfloN of rocfc dTtnJringr employing hor tools as sxtHiioas of Iter komds and foot. (Photo: Ian Tomtinsw)

Bird used a Afferent, probably lesi-effkJenl test to dear the

«ihoeMer up neder the ke. She waged to pet over, bat wilh nore effort than lAsoletefy necessary. AHhongb the followlne dav woeld be im i*ii»ttbii| hi fivein an km gnuWcrtio*, she had dkiody finessed beautiful md bird cknb* that Many love trouble wttfc after years of clnbbg ke* (Photo: ton Tomtmson)



Neil Cannon Rock Climbing

Opposite page and above, from lower left: On our hist day we dimbed Secret Probation, a short but intensely strenuous and technical M7 roof, comer. Old face climb..., Bauldering moves off the ground allow «cess to dipping the fixed protection at the roof, which is dimbed by a series of crack hooking and torquoing moves... into a comer above the roof Strenuous liebacks off the picks allow a precision stick with the right tool in very thin ice on the corner's right waH----Once established on the little tongue of ke the climbing eases to WIS, but the protection is scant and the lead Is serious, fPhotos; Ian hmlimon)

Bird jlJvyyMoi tfce crvx coi mí mvii^ ottmptfag to cfiab tM itrdgkhM, rather thm Kobodfog for «mgk f o

■ju it' , , il1 il lab im n^f, wh hhm mf pfcfa ta cÉriy iBp dawn tha idga of rock. W« coltd it 0 doy. (Photo: km Tamftmani

Rock Dimbing


Class 8 Climbing

Although only one climb I know of (Octopussy) has class 8 technical moves, this situation will surely change in the coming years. It is very hard to conceive of a climb on pure ice that would offer class 8 moves, though it could be a horizontal roof formed by a broken pillar, or a long, extremely overhanging pitch on an alpine ice cliff. More certainly, these test pieces will be found on mixed rock and ice terrain. The techniques already outlined should be sufficient to climb these routes; you will simply encounter longer series of extreme moves, As with the upsidt-dotvn btcl-tot jams of Octopussy, these climbs will require creative solutions in addition to standard technique. There is no question that soon someone will do a class 9 climb.

Doscemfag Extreme Ice

It is a good idea to practice down<limbing even very steep pitches. The ability to climb down out of dangerous terrain will save you from potentially serious falls, Jt is possible to descend simply by placing your tools at shoulder level and climbing straight down below, When you can, however, try placing your tools about shoulder level but diagonally out to the side, and doing a sort of side-to-side series of liebacks down the ice. There will come a point on overhangs and in other cases where the climbing is so committing you won't be able to reverse the moves. At these times an arsenal of techniques for quick protection and rappeling off is essential.

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