Following the Lead

The rope directly in front of you is often at risk when you are following an ice pitch, If there is any question that you may have to place a pick close to where the rope lies, use the pick of one tool to hook the rope to the side of the tool that is in the ice, keeping it out of harm's way. Ice screws can be removed just as they were placed. Removing drive-in, screw-out ice pitons, however, usually requires some initial chopping to clear the eye for spinning. This protection is more difficult for the second than for the leader. Removing hook-type pitons is sometimes simply a matter of pulling up and out on the cara-biner,- at other times you can tap directly up on the shaft to free them, and sometimes they must be chopped most of the way out.

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