Care Of The Feet

Because of their distance from the body core, extremities have the poorest circulation. To make matters worse for your feet in winter, they are always close to snow or ice. The same factors that keep your body warm adequate insulation and staying dry will also warm your feet. The advent of plastic double boots made it much easier than before to keep your feet warm and dry. The plastic shell is an absolute barrier to snow and water, while the inner boot provides the insulation. In some...

Helicopter Rescue

Climbers can communicate with air rescuers by constructing international ground symbols, which are familiar to most pilots (fig. 17-9). The symbols, signaling such information as the need for a doctor, should be 8 to 12 feet high with lines 1 foot wide. It's a good idea to keep a copy of the symbols in your first-aid kit. Require doctor Require medical supplies Require food and water Unable to proceed Safe to land here Fig. 17-9. Ground-to-air signals The helicopter revolutionized mountain...

Sleeping bags

A comfortable sleeping system is critical for winter trips, when the climber may spend the greater part of each day in the sack. It's colder than summer, so you need more insulation. This can come from a heavier sleeping bag or an overbag with additional insulation. An overbag must be large enough that it does not restrict the loft of the insulation in the inner bag. A non-insulating over-bag, such as a bivouac sack, provides some extra warmth and protects the main bag from spills,...

How to cross a questionable slope

Nobody likes it, but sometimes there's no way to avoid questionable avalanche terrain. The problem then is to make the passage with the least danger of disturbing the slope, and to minimize the consequences if the climbers set off an avalanche or one sweeps down from above. Before heading out onto a questionable slope, check that your electronic avalanche rescue beacon is switched to the transmit position. Everyone in the party should carry one of the small battery-powered devices. If one...

Devise a rescue plan

With all the groundwork out of the way, it's time to get the climber out of the crevasse. There are a lot of methods to choose from, as you will see later in this chapter. Just use the one that looks the best for this particular case, depending on the condition of the climber, the number of rescuers, the equipment available, and any other variables. Fig. 13-6. Rescue response a, arresting the fall b, setting up the anchor and attaching the rope to the anchor c, checking on the fallen climber...

What If You Are Lost Alone

Look around for other members of the party, shout, and listen for answering shouts. If the only answer is silence, sit down, try to regain your calm, and combat terror with reason. Once you've calmed down, start doing the right things. Look at your map in an attempt to determine your location, and plan a route home in ease you don't connect with the other climbers. Mark your location with a cairn or other objects, and then scout in all directions, each time...

The end run

When a crevasse pinches to a close at one end, the safest and most dependable technique is the end run (fig. 13-3). A quarter-mile walk may gain you only 20 or 30 feet of forward progress, but it often beats a direct confrontation with the crevasse. Fig. 13-4. Crossing a bridged crevasse under belay Fig. 13-4. Crossing a bridged crevasse under belay In late summer when the winter snow has melted down to the ice, you may be able to see the true end of the crevasse. But if fresh snow still...

Cautions About Compass

As you've gathered by now, there's a big difference between using a compass for working with a map and using a compass for field work. When measuring and plotting bearings on a map, the compass needle is ignored. Just align the meridian lines on the compass housing with the north-south lines on the map. In the field, you must use the magnetic needle. You may have heard that metal can mess up a compass reading. It's true. Ferrous objects iron, steel, and other materials with magnetic properties...

Routefinding On Snow

Snow gives us passage over some frustrating obstacles, such as tundra, talus, brush, streams, and logging debris. At its best, it provides a smooth, uniform surface and a straight shot up the mountain. But because its very nature means it constantly changes, we always have to study typical seasonal weather patterns as well as current reports for an idea of what conditions to expect on any climb. Snow can be too soft to support our weight, or it can be hard and slick. It covers obstacles in our...

Tension Traverses And Pendulums

These techniques allow you to move horizontally across blank sections of a wall that would normally require placement of bolts. Tension traverses are the simpler technique, useful for short traverses. The leader takes tension from the belayer, then leans to the side and uses friction on small holds to work sideways. Pendulums let you cross wider blank sections without bolts but often require more ropes and pose special problems for the second climber. Start by placing a bombproof anchor at the...

Seconding Traverses And Overhangs

When traversing a long distance, it is generally more efficient if you aid across the traverse as if leading. Aiding in this fashion, you can receive a belay from above or self-belay by attaching ascenders to your harness with slings and sliding the ascenders along the climbing rope as you aid. When using the latter method, tie in short from time to time. Short traverses, and those that are more diagonal than horizontal, can be crossed using normal jugging (mechanical ascender) techniques. The...

An Expedition Philosophy

Members of an expedition need a common code to live by during the weeks they struggle together. A good one is summed up in three promises you and your teammates can make To respect the land, to take care of yourselves, and to come home again. Every day, your expedition will have the chance to put the health and beauty of the land ahead of your immediate comfort. The easy way out might be to burn wood fires or set up camp in a virgin meadow or abandon heavy gear. But if you've promised to...

Appendix Rating Systems

The development of rating systems began in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries in Britain and Germany. In the 1920s, Willo Welzen-bach defined a rating system, using Roman numerals and the British adjectival system to compare and describe the routes in the Alps, which today forms the basis of the UIAA rating system. Today there are more than seven major rock, four alpine, four ice, and two aid-climbing rating systems used worldwide. This appendix will briefly describe some of...

Protection for mixed terrain

Previous chapters have detailed the types of protection used on rock, snow, and ice. Mix them all together, however, for winter climbing and there are some additional considerations. Given a choice between a rock anchor and a snow anchor, the rock anchor is usually the one to use. It's relatively easy to check the soundness of rock anchors not so with most snow or ice anchors. Even a good anchor in snow or ice has less strength than one well-placed in rock. You may have to do a good bit of...

Food and equipment

On expeditions to the remote mountains of the world, you cither take it with you or you do without it. Having the necessary equipment, in working order, is much more critical than on a weekend climb where home is a short drive away. Your expedition needs a complete equipment list, both group and personal, worked out in discussions with all team members. (See the sample equipment list at the end of this chapter.) Food constitutes the heaviest single category of weight carried by an expedition....

Approach Observations

Keep an eye on the mountain during the approach hike, studying it for climbing routes. The distant view reveals gross patterns of ridges, cliffs, snowfields, and glaciers, as well as the average angle of inclination. As you get closer, details of fault lines, bands of cliffs, and crevasse fields show up. Gross patterns seen from far away usually are repeated in finer detail when viewed closer. Ledges revealed by snow or shrubs from a distance often turn out to be sidewalks with smaller ledges...

Climbing Without Crampons

Climbing gentle ice slopes without crampons is balance climbing, moving up from one position of balance to the next. At each point of balance, your inside (uphill) foot is in front of and above the trailing outside (downhill) leg, which is fully extended so you can put most of your weight on the bone of that leg, minimizing muscular effort. The axe, in your uphill hand, moves only after your body and feet are in balance, and your feet move only after the axe has been moved forward. As you...

Minimizing The Risk

Climbers have many ways to minimize the risk of avalanches and increase their chances of survival if one hits. These efforts begin before they leave home and continue throughout the climb. It's obvious advice, but check the weather report before starting the trip. Heed the detailed avalanche hazard reports prepared by agencies in many mountain areas. Talk to people with local knowledge. Plan the route before getting under way, but be ready to adjust it depending on conditions. Lots of factors...

Scope Of The Book

As in previous editions, Freedom provides sound, clear, and current coverage of the concepts, techniques, and problems involved in the pursuit of mountain climbing. Individual topics, such as rock climbing technique or aid climbing, are detailed enough to be useful to readers with specific interests in those topics. The book provides a fundamental understanding of each topic. It is not intended, however, to be exhaustive or encyclopedic. In addition to presenting information for the novice,...

Selfrescue

Self-rescue is often the easiest and fastest form of crevasse rescue. This is especially true for small parties that lack the muscle power to hoist you out or that may be pinned down holding the rope. It may be the only practical rescue method for a two-person party. Self-rescue has the added advantage of keeping the fallen climber active and warm. In some cases, you may be able to climb the crevasse wall to safety, while on belay. Or you can climb back up the rope that held your fall. Two good...

Aging Of The Snowcover

Snow that remains on the ground changes with time. The crystals undergo a process of change metamorphism that results in smaller, simpler forms and a snowpack that shrinks and settles. Because the snowpack generally becomes more stable over time, mountaineers find it useful to know the recent history of weather and snow conditions in an area. Metamorphism begins the moment that snow falls and lasts until it melts. The equilibrium growth process gradually converts the varied original forms of...

Mountaineering Climbing Pace

Beginners often make one of two mistakes they walk faster than they should, or they walk slower than they could. The most common mistake is walking too fast, perhaps out of concern for the long miles ahead or from a desire to perform well in front of com panions. But why wear yourself out on the first mile of a 10-mile hike if the whole day happens to be available for the walk Take your time and enjoy it. A simple test will reveal if your pace is too fast. If you cannot sustain it hour after...

Conserving Energy

Plan a move before trying to execute it. Move smoothly and deliberately, without wasted motion. Strive for fluidity, as if dancing a ballet with the rock, to conserve both time and energy. Once you begin to step up on a foothold, transfer all your weight and complete the move. Avoid hanging with bent arms and bent knees in an awkward and tiring position while deciding what to do next. Look for natural resting places such as ledges or secure footholds. If a no-hands rest isn't possible, try for...

Seconding

As the second climber on short sections of aid, you will usually follow the same sequence as the leader, while belayed from above. You will, however, unclip the rope from a placement before clipping on the etriers, and clean the placement below you after stepping up higher. If you cannot reach a lower piece after moving up, lengthen your etriers with another sling, and then step down to clcan the piece. When climbing long sections of aid, a different strategy is called for. You will use...

Knots

Knots allow you to use the rope for many special purposes. They let you tie into the rope, anchor yourself to the mountain, tie two ropes together for long rappels, use slings to climb the rope itself, and much more. Climbers rely most heavily on a dozen or so different knots (figs. 6-6 through 6-26). Practice these knots until tying them is second nature. If you really want a test, try tying them in a cold, dark shower to give you an idea of the conditions you may someday encounter on a climb....

Composition Of Foods

Each of the three major food components carbohydrates, protein, and fats provides energy, and each must be supplied in approximately the right amount to maintain a healthy mind and body. Food intake for mountaineers can go as high as 6,000 calories per day, possibly even more for larger folks. You will have to determine what is best for you depending on how demanding a trip you are planning and your own size, weight, metabolic rate, and level of conditioning. Carbohydrates are easiest for the...

During the trip

Get off on the right foot by making sure that everyone understands the route. Gather the crew around a map and take time to discuss the route and make contingency plans in case the party gets separated. Point out on the map where you are and associate the surroundings with the piece of paper in front of you, orienting the map to true north if you wish. This is a good time for everyone to make a mental note of the main features the party will see during the trip, such as forest, streams, or...

Altitude sickness acute mountain sickness

When you ascend rapidly to an altitude you're not accustomed to, your system works to adjust to the new conditions. Breathing becomes more rapid to extract enough oxygen from the thinner air, and the blood increases its proportion of oxygen-carrying red corpuscles. Climbing slowly and steadily upward, climbers routinely suffer uncomfortable symptoms from moving into this new environment. First comes a general malaise and loss of appetite, then headache, followed by increasing weakness and...

Essential Equipment

There is a selection of small but critical items that deserve a place in almost every pack. You won't use every one of these items on every trip, but they can be lifesavers in an emergency, insurance against the unexpected. Exactly how much insurance you should carry is a matter of debate. Some respected minimalists argue that weighing down your pack with insurance items causes you to climb slower, making it more likely you'll get caught by a storm or nightfall and be forced to bivouac. Don't...

Highaltitude pulmonary edema and cerebral edema

High-altitude pulmonary edema is the leakage of blood into the lungs, which restricts the air sacs (alveoli) in exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. Pulmonary edema rarely occurs in healthy people below 9,000 feet. The average elevation at which it strikes in the United States is 12,000 feet, and the level of onset varies for mountain ranges in other parts of the world. Early symptoms of pulmonary edema are similar to those of pneumonia, although it is not precipitated by an...

Tyrolean Traverses

Tyrolean traverses are most often used to return to a main wall after ascending a detached pillar. Ropes are strung between the main wall and the top of the pillar, allowing you to traverse through the air, attached to the rope. You can establish a Tyrolean traverse like this 1. After setting up a bombproof anchor on the main wall one that can take both a horizontal and vertical pull rappel on two ropes to the saddle between the main wall and the pinnacle. (You can use just one rope for the...

How To Get The Most From Your Altimeter

Knowing all the facts about an altimeter the pluses and minuses will make it as valuable as possible in the wilderness. First of all, keep in mind that temperature and weather are always working their will on an altimeter's accuracy. A high-pressure weather area will tend to cause a lower elevation reading than a low-pressure area. Warmer, lighter air will tend to result in a higher elevation reading than colder, heavier air. There's no need to be surprised if an elevation reading of 5,200 as...

Legacy Of The Fifth Edition

Issac Newton said, If I see farther than others, it is because I stood on the shoulder of giants. The various editions of Freedom represent a tradition of bringing together and sorting through the knowledge, techniques, opinions, and advice of a large number of practicing climbers. Students, both in training and on actual climbs, have been an especially pivotal source of information. Prior to the publication of the first edition of Freedom in 1960, The Mountaineers climbing courses had used...

Jamming

The technique of jamming consists of wedging parts of the body, such as hands or feet, securely enough into a crack to bear weight. Jamming isn't as instinctive or natural-feeling as many other climbing techniques, but it works. It's the principal technique for working your way up the cracks that constitute a big part of rock climbing. The basic procedure is to insert part of a hand or foot, usually just above a narrower part of the crack. Jams are usually locked by twisting (torqu-ing) so the...

Deep snow

The conventional wisdom is that loose snow will not stay long on a steep surface. But occasionally you encounter circumstances that seem to defy the rules, such as a short slope with snow well-anchored by boulders or by a wind-sculpted snow trough. Normal step-kicking won't work because the snow is too loose, nor is delicate footwork the answer. You must use your whole body to flail your way up the slope. An ice axe placed horizontally may be the only handhold, and you move upward on your knees...

General Considerations

When you take the rock-climbing skills you've learned during pleasant days on small nearby crags out into the mountains proper, some of the conditions of the game change. There are new things to keep in mind when it comes to alpine climbing which involves a mix of hiking, scrambling, routefinding, snow and ice climbing, and rock climbing. First of all, you'll probably be climbing with a pack, a significant impediment to speed and performance. With a pack, it can be a challenge to climb rock...

Entrenched ropes

The upward progress of a person climbing out or being pulled out of a crevasse can be stopped cold by a rope that has dug itself into the lip. The situation calls for some improvisation. For instance, a rescuer can attach prusik slings or etriers above the entrenched portion of the rope and drop them down for the climber to step into. Another option is to switch to a new rescue rope. A rescuer can lower a new rope to the climber. Or the fallen climber can, in effect, provide a new rope by...

Threepoint suspension

In this elementary approach, you move one hand or foot at a time while the other three limbs remain stationary (fig. 9-3). Be sure you're in balance over your feet before releasing a handhold to reach for the next one. This is an especially useful approach when the rock may be unsound, because it allows you to balance securely on three Know where your center of gravity is. The optimal position will vary, but it's often useful to keep a low center of gravity, with weight directly over the feet....

Placing Ice Tools

With any ice tool, the goal is accuracy and a solid placement the first time. One or two swings saved at the bottom of a pitch mean that much more energy at the top. It takes a lot of practice to learn pinpoint placement. But with a combination of proper technique and equipment, you should be able to place a tool easily and precisely, keep it secure for as long as it's needed, and extract it with less effort than you took to place it (fig. 14-36). Study the ice for a good placement. A slight...

Climbers Sketch Maps

They help in visualizing the ups and downs of the landscape and have some value in trip planning. Land management and recreation maps are updated frequently and thus are very useful for current details on roads, trails, ranger stations, and other marks of the human hand. They usually show only the horizontal relationship of natural features, without the contour lines that indicate the shape of the land. These maps, published by the U.S. Forest Service and other government...

The slopes

On slopes, danger comes in many shapes, angles, and sizes. Slope angles between 30 and 45 degrees are the main originators of avalanches, although slides can start on inclines from 25 to 55 degrees (fig. 12-45). Angles above 55 degrees are generally too steep to collect a lot of snow, which tends to sluff off immediately after falling. Angles lower than 25 degrees are usually safe except for danger from Fig. 12 45. The frequency of avalanches on slopes of various angles Fig. 12 45. The...

Specialized Equipment

Climbers now have access to a growing catalog of manufactured climbing aids. They let you train whenever you want and tailor a fitness program to your own needs. Artificial climbing walls are appearing both indoors and out, where you can boulder in the absence of readily available natural areas. The walls help develop both strength and technique, and they allow creation of specific problems to work on. These problems can even simulate a difficult sequence on an established natural route. Of...

Downhill And Sidehill

Walking downhill is less tiring than walking uphill, but it's a mixed blessing. Going down a trail, body weight drops roughly and abruptly on legs and feet. Toes are jammed forward. Jolts travel up the spine to jar the entire body. The result can be blisters and knee cartilage damage, sore toes and blackened nails, headaches, and back pain. Hikers use a few tricks to ease their way downhill. Tighten laces to reduce movement inside the boot (and keep your toenails trimmed). Maintain a measured...

Preparing to belay the leader

Belaying the leader is a big change from belaying the follower because the pull is from a new direction, usually above. A new stance is often necessary. The anchor for belaying the leader must hold a pull toward the first piece of protection, possibly straight up, so your existing anchor may have to be revised or augmented. Fortunately the follower has brought up all the hardware from the pitch below, so you should have plenty of gear to work with. Before setting up your belay, pull in all the...

The middle person

It's an awkward situation when the middle person on a three-person rope team falls in a crevasse, and there are no other teams around to help. The fallen climber is temporarily left hanging while the only two people who can help are separated by the crevasse, each in self-arrest. To get out of this fix, the climbers start by deciding which side of the crevasse is the rescue side that is, which side should the fallen climber come out on Usually, one of the two rescuers in self-arrest is holding...

The Campsite

Mountain climbers don't always set up camp in the most comfortable places. They may walk right past an idyllic spot in the forest in favor of a windy mountain ledge because that puts them closer to the summit. What other reasons might there be for picking a particular campsite Because it's comfortable Scenic Environmentally sound Sometimes you can have it all, but at other times you need to give a little to help preserve the wilderness. Let's look at camps from the standpoint of the wilderness...

Preparation

Climbing is physically demanding, and if you don't have the needed strength, some climbs will be too difficult. However, many climbs are possible without an abundance of strength. To some extent, technique can compensate for a lack of strength, while extra strength can sometimes compensate for a deficiency of technique. Some climbs, especially at the higher end of the rating scale, demand a high degree of both strength and technique. To climb rock well, you must have the desire. Rock climbing...

Lieback

The classic lieback technique, another form of counterforce, uses hands pulling and feet pushing in opposition as the climber moves upward in shuffling movements fig. 9-15a . It's used to climb a crack in a corner, or a crack with one edge offset beyond the other, or along the edge of a flake. Grasp one edge of the crack with both hands and lean back and to the side on straightened arms. Push your feet against the opposite wall of the crack. Then get a move on. It's a strenuous technique, and...

Mountaineering Boots Thick Or Thin Socks

Socks cushion and insulate your feet, absorb perspiration, and reduce friction between the boot and the foot. Socks made of wool or synthetic materials can perform all these functions, while those made of cotton cannot. Cotton absorbs too much water, which destroys its insulating qualities and increases friction between the boot and the foot. Most climbers wear two pairs of socks. Next to the skin, a smooth polyester or polypropylene sock transports perspiration from the foot to the outer sock....

Principles Of Movement Climbing with the feet

Pay attention to footwork and balance and you'll reduce the need to rely on arm and hand strength. Stand erect over your feet and tight the tendency to lean in and hug the rock. On very steep rock, however, pressing the hips close to the rock can help push body weight directly down onto small footholds. When possible, keep arms outstretched to avoid hanging on bent arms, which is very tiring. As you raise your feet to the next foothold, try to keep your arms straight, avoiding the tendency to...

Ice Tools

Part of the fun of ice climbing is experimenting with the large variety of ice-climbing hand tools and learning how to use them. You can borrow, rent, or buy ice tools in order to discover which ones work best in your own climbing. Most ice tools have shorter shafts than the standard axes used in snow climbing. The short shaft, commonly 50 to 60 centimeters, helps in accurate placement of the pick and reduces the shaft vibration that can fatigue arm muscles. Ice tools that feature a hammer in...

Compass Alone

Navigators of air and ocean often travel by instrument alone so can climbers. For example, if you are scrambling toward a pass and clouds begin to obscure it, take a quick compass bearing. Then follow the bearing, compass in hand if you wish. You don't even have to note the numerical bearing just align the magnetic needle with the declination arrow and keep it aligned. Likewise, if you are heading into a valley where fog or forest will hide the mountain that is your goal, take the bearing to...

Snow characteristics

Take a close at the nearby snow for more information on avalanche hazard. Are there new avalanches in the area Do you see cracks close by, indicating you are on an unstable slab Does an area of snow settle as you walk across it, again warning of a slab that could slide Does the snow settle with a loud thump, indicating a hard slab ready to release The stability of the snow can be tested by probing with an ice axe or ski pole to feel for layers of varying solidity or by digging a pit to examine...

Bivouacs

A bivouac is a lightweight, no-frills overnight stay sometimes planned, sometimes not. Climbers plan spartan bivouacs so they can travel fast and light and start high on the mountain. An unplanned bivouac comes as a not-so-pleasant surprise due to injury, bad weather, or getting off route. Climbers at a planned bivouac camp make sure they have the essentials for a tolerable if not comfortable night, such as a bivy sack or cagoule, perhaps a tarp, some special food, and plenty of clothing....

Warmth

The warmth of a sleeping bag is provided by insulating material that traps dead air. How warm a particular bag is depends on the type and amount of this insulating fill, the thickness loft of the fill, and the bags's size, style, and method of construction. Sleeping bags are generally categorized as recommended for summer, three-season, or winter expedition use. See Chapter 15 for tips on sleeping bags for winter climbs. Manufacturers give their bags comfort ratings, meant to indicate the...

Long Reaches

What do you do when the next available handhold is a long reach away or even out of reach The climber has several techniques available. First, make the most of available holds, by using one or more of these tips stand up on your toes pull your body into the rock to achieve maximum extension of the body use a foot for counterbalance to help in standing up completely on the other foot move your foot higher on a sloped hold move your foot more to the side that the next handhold is on. Additional...

Climbing Cracks And Dihedrals

Cracks may be climbed with a pure jamming technique or by a combination of techniques. A very potent combination is to jam with one side of the body and use face holds with the other fig. 9-25 . Cracks also may be climbed with a pure lieback technique or by liebacking with one arm in combination with face holds for the other hand fig. 9-26 . This may result in a kind of stemming action. Dihedrals inside comers may be climbed by pure stemming. You can also use various combinations, such as hands...

Evacuation On Snow

Injured Person Stretcher

On snow, it's particularly urgent to protect an injured person from heat loss while you give first aid and plan the evacuation. Wrap the person in extra clothing. Use pads, packs, or ropes as insulation from the snow. If the victim cannot be moved quickly, build a trench or low wall as a temporary wind shield. Of course, if you must stay overnight, the party will put up a tent or dig a snow cave. If possible, move the victim to a sheltered location, preferably below timberline. Do this as soon...

German technique frontpointing

Developed by the Germans and Austrians for climbing the harder snow and ice of the eastern Alps, front-pointing can take an experienced ice climber up the steepest and most difficult ice slopes. With this technique, even average climbers can quickly overcome sections that would be difficult or impossible with French technique. Front-pointing, in contrast to the choreography of flat-footing, is straightforward and uncomplicated. The technique is much like step-kicking straight up a snow slope,...

Cleaning

Mountaineering And Pins

Efficiency in aid climbing is very much related to organization. While ascending and cleaning a pitch, rack the equipment as it will be placed on the lead rack. This greatly facilitates the lead changes. Clean protection and aid placements that are lightly set often pop out if you jug right through them. Lift up on the placement as you slide your ascender up the rope. If clean aid has been used, you can often ascend from one tying-off-short spot to the next without stopping. After tying in...

Performance Tests

The UIAA tests equipment to determine which gear meets its standards. In a sport where equipment failure can be fatal, it's wise to purchase equipment that has earned UIAA approval. A principal UIAA test checks the strength of single ropes, the basic ropes used in most climbing. These ropes generally measure between 9.8 and 12 millimeters in diameter. For the test, the UIAA attaches an 80-kilogram 176-pound weight to one end of a 2.8-meter 9-foot length of rope. The other end is attached to a...

Counterforce

Counterforce is the use of pressure in opposing directions to help keep you in place. For instance, with both hands in a vertical crack, you can create outward pressure by pulling in opposite directions on the sides of the crack a pulling-apart action fig. 9-1 la . Or you can create inward pressure by pulling in on widely spaced holds a pulling-to-gether action or by pressing in on both sides of a sharp ridge. You can also use the hands in counter- Fig. 9-11. Counterforce a, outward pressure b,...

Alpine climbingice climbing Europe

The International French Adjectival System IFAS is an overall rating of alpine and ice climbs used primarily in the Alps. It expresses the seriousness of the route, including factors such as length, objective danger, how sustained it is, commitment, altitude, runouts, descent, and technical difficulty in terms of terrain. It has six categories that are symbolized by the first one or two letters of the French adjective used. It is further subdivided with the use of or - or sup superior or inf...

Coiling The Rope

Mountaineers Coil

For carrying or storing, the rope is normally coiled, most commonly in the mountaineeer's coil fig. 6-3 or the butterfly coil fig. 6-4 . Most climbers prefer one or the other, but knowing both is useful. The mountaineer's coil is advantageous when the rope is carried over a pack. But the butterfly coil is faster, doesn't kink the rope, and ties snugly to your body if you are not wearing a pack. Whatever your method, uncoil the rope carefully before use. Untie the cinch knot and then uncoil the...

Downpressure

Climbing Pocketgrip

For this technique, place the finger tips, palm, side or heel of your hand on the hold and press down fig. 9-8a . Pressing down with a thumb can Fig. 9-7. Handholds a, thumb used in opposition to other fingers h, stacking fingers to apply greater pressure on a small hold c, large cling hold d, open grip. Keeping distal finger joints flexed puts less stress on joints and tendons, e, Cling grip on small hold. Extension of distal finger joints is more stressful and is more likely to cause injury...

The Fifth Edition

In late 1987, climbing committee chairman Ken Small responded to concerns of The Mountaineers Books staff and initiated an effort to assess the need for a new edition. A Freedom Ad Hoc Study Committee was formed to make specific recommendations to the club's board of trustees. The committee reported the need for a revision of many technique sections, overall improvement in the writing quality, and an upgraded visual format. It also recommended that this revision be carried out in the tradition...

Symmetric Chouinard Mid-size

Camming Devices Mechanism

Design variations in passive wedging chocks a, wide side, straight sides b, narrow side, straight sides c, wide side, curved sides d, narrow side, curved sides e, top view, rectangular f, top view, trapezoidal. Fig. 10-7. Wide-side and narrow-side placement of passive wedging chocks a, wide sides are in contact with the rock, a stronger placement b, narrow sides are in contact with the rock, a weaker placement. have slightly curved sides. They can also have a combination of straight...

Overhangs

Before leading an overhang, check that you have enough equipment for the job. It may be impossible to obtain more gear later from the second climber. Keep your ascenders handy, because if a piece pulls and you end up hanging, you'll need ascenders to climb back up to your last secure piece. Also, check that your belayer is securely anchored, or you could both end up hanging free in the event of a fall. Balance will be difficult as you scale an overhang because you can't effectively place your...

Mountaineering Clothing Recommendations

Climb often enough in the mountains, and even in the summer you will encounter winterlike conditions. Likewise, many of the best winter climbs are done when the weather resembles spring. Your clothing and equipment must be prepared to For winter, summer clothing serves as the starting point. Begin with a wicking layer of underwear, followed by whatever layers of insulating clothing the weather dictates, topped off by a windbreaking layer. How much extra clothing you bring, and what kind,...

Finger jams

Finger Jams

Finger jams make it possible to climb some of the narrowest cracks, where you may only be able to insert one or more fingers, or perhaps just the finger tips. Finger jams are commonly done with the thumbs down. Slip fingers into the crack and twist the hand to lock the fingers in place fig. 9-16a . You get added strength by stacking fingers and also by pressing the thumb against the index finger in a ring jam fig. 9-16b . In slightly wider cracks, you can try a thumb lock. Place the up-pointing...

Alpine climbing

The National Climbing Classification System NCCS describes the overall difficulty of a multi-pitch alpine climb in terms of time and technical rock difficulty. It takes the following factors into account length of climb, number of hard pitches, average pitch difficulty, difficulty of hardest pitch, commitment, routefinding problems, ascent time, rockfall, icefall, and weather problems. The approach and remoteness of an area also influence the grade of a climb, which will be regional and, thus,...

Judgment And Experience

This book outlines the basics of equipment and techniques and suggests how to learn from practice. But judgment, the most important of all mental qualities in climbing, develops from how we integrate our knowledge and experience. Much of what we need are coping skills the ability to deal with adverse weather, long hikes, thick brush, high exposure, and the like. As we endure these situations, we become better decision-makers, and the experiences we gain are useful for comparison the next time...

Internal And External Frames

Large Frame Pack

Soft packs with internal frames fig. 2-10 that help maintain the pack's shape and transfer weight to the hips are by far the most popular packs among climbers and ski mountaineers. These packs allow the weight to be carried lower, and they do a better job of hugging the back. Internal frame packs are designed to move with you, while external frame packs tend to shift suddenly as you climb or ski. The sudden movement of 40 pounds or so can easily make you lose your balance. The volume of most...

Making The Crossing

Unfasten the waist and chest straps of your pack before trying any stream crossing that would require swimming if you fell. You must be able to shed the pack in a hurry. A foot log is a great way across, with an ice axe, stick, or tightly stretched handline to help with balance and support if the log is thin, slippery, or steeply inclined. Sit down and scoot across if that helps. Boulders offer another way. Move from boulder to boulder but only after mentally rehearsing the entire sequence of...

Routefinding And Navigation

Where am I How can I find my way from here to there Are we almost there These are three of the most popular questions in mountaineering, and this chapter shows how to find the answers by using routefinding, orientation, and navigation. By the time you finish this chapter, you will have a good handle on the tools of navigation and the proven, painfully acquired techniques of top-notch route finders. You will have the basic knowledge to eventually head into the wilds, work out the way to the...

Using Ascenders

Although you could ascend fixed climbing ropes on slings attached with prusik knots, mechanical ascenders are both safer and more efficient fig. 11-28 . Attach an etrier and a daisy chain to each ascender. The etriers give you a platform to stand on, and the daisy chains positively connect the ascenders to your harness. Use a cara-biner not a fifi hook to clip each daisy chain to an ascender. To expedite the process of preparing your ascenders, mark the loops in both the daisies and etriers...

Rappel Systems

Rappelling

A rappel system has four basic requirements a rope, an anchor, someone to rappel, and a means of applying friction to the rope. The midpoint of the rope is looped through the anchor a point of attachment to the rock or snow , with the two ends hanging down the descent route. The rappeller slides down this doubled rope and retrieves it from below by pulling on one end. In mechanical rappel systems, the doubled rope passes through a friction device attached to your seat harness. In non-mechanical...

Fabrics

Anorak Esqu

Clothing for the outdoors is made from a variety of fabrics, each with advantages and disadvantages. Cotton is comfortable to wear when dry but absorbs many times its weight in water and loses its insulating qualities when wet. Because it absorbs so much water, it takes a long time to dry. In hot weather, however, cotton ventilates well and helps cool the body. Wet it down on a hot day, and the water evaporating from the cotton will cool you off. Silk readily absorbs water, but not as much as...

Homemade Seat Harnesses

Improvised Seat Harness

Homemade seat harnesses are an option for linking yourself to the rope, and you can make a simple one from 22 feet of 1-inch tubular webbing. Starting about 41 2 feet from one end of the webbing, tie two leg loops in the webbing using overhand loops. Make the loops just large enough to fit over your clothing, and leave about a 6-inch bridge between the loops. Once tied, leave the loops in place. That completes construction of the harness. To wear it, step into the leg loops and wrap the webbing...

Figure rappel device

The figure-8 is probably the most popular special device for rappelling fig. 8-6 . It is simpler to set up and requires less force to control than the carabiner brake method. Keep in mind the disadvantages. It means carrying an extra piece of equipment, and most figure-8s are relatively heavy. If you lose or forget it, you must be prepared to use another rappel method. Most figure-8s require use of a locking carabiner and don't give you the option of using doubled carabiners. And the figure-8...

Passing the knot

On a long pitch, you may want to tie two or more ropes together to permit a long uninterrupted descent for the injured person. As the knot approaches the lowering device the doubled carabiner brake , it's necessary to stop lowering and perform a careful procedure to pass the knot safely through the device fig. 17-5 . Otherwise, the knot would jam. It usually takes two people to carry out this procedure. Stop the descent when the knot gets to within 2 or 3 feet of the braking device. One person...

Planning And Preparation

In deciding what peak to try and which route to climb, you will take a lot of factors into account Difficulty of the route It's generally best to choose a route well within your climbing ability because the challenges of remoteness, changeable weather, and routefinding will add to the difficulties. Until you have gone on a few expeditions, think of the trip as an opportunity to apply well-practiced climbing skills in a new environment, rather than to push the limits of your ability. Duration of...

Lowering The Victim

Rope Coil Placement

Before deciding to lower a victim, be sure that's exactly what you want to do. Once started, it's very hard to reverse. It can be especially tricky with a small party, in which there are not enough people to provide an independent belay or help out if complications arise. If you go ahead with lowering, watch that the rope doesn't dislodge dirt or rocks. There are several possibilities for getting the affected person down the mountain, depending on the extent of illness or injuries Downclimbing...

Ice screws

A favorable location for an ice-screw placement is the same as for an ice tool. A good choice is a natural depression, where fracture lines caused by the screw are not as likely to reach the surface fig. 14-38a . A screw placed into a bulge in the ice, on the other hand, can cause serious fracturing that weakens the placement or makes it useless. If this happens, move the screw a foot or two and try again. Generally keep screw placements at least 2 feet apart more in rotten ice to reduce...

Frostbite

Frostbite is a concern at high altitudes because of the cold environment and because reduced oxygen means your body is less efficient at generating internal warmth, making hands and feet more susceptible to freezing. Frostbite is freezing of the tissues, and most commonly affects toes, fingers, and face. It occurs when an extremity loses heat faster than it can be replaced by the circulating blood, or it may result from direct exposure to extreme cold or high wind. Damp feet can freeze when...

Mechanical Systems

Figure Carabiner

Most climbers use a mechanical system fig. 8-1 as their principal rappelling method, and all operate essentially the same. The two strands of rope are run through a rappel device attached to your harness. As you begin the rappel and gravity pulls you downward, the rope slides through the device. Your braking hand controls this natural pull by adjusting the amount of friction on the rope as it runs through the device. It does this through a combination of variations in grip and hand position....

Belay anchors

Set Belay Off Anchor

A standard anchor set-up for an ice belay takes two ice screws. Place the first screw in the ice in front of you, a bit to one side, at about waist to chest level. Clip in a carabiner and tie into it with the climbing rope as it comes from your seat harness. Use a clove hitch or figure-8 knot. Unclip from the hand tool that was placed as a temporary anchor and replant that tool above and to the outside of the ice screw. Clip the tool to the screw via the wrist leash or a runner as a backup to...

Bigwall Multiday Techniques

Big walls, the saying goes, are 90 percent big walls are easy. There's no question that proper work and 10 percent fun. Not everyone agrees conditioning is essential for the hauling of heavy with those percentages, but few climbers will say loads and the scaling of multiple aid pitches. Big walls also call for a high degree of mental composure. Inexperienced wall climbers easily find themselves the victim of heightened fears brought on by prolonged and severe exposure. If you're new to the...

Snow Travel And Climbing

Climbing in snow is a fundamental part of mountaineering. Snow adds beauty and challenge but even if you wanted to avoid snow, it wouldn't be easy. Climbers work in a world in which their medium, the mountains, is sculpted by the action of snow, ice, and water. To avoid snow would mean climbing in only a select few mountain ranges or for only a few months each year. Climbers like snow for at least a couple of reasons. First of all, it makes many climbs a lot easier by providing a pathway over...

Accidents

One way to prevent accidents is to study incidents that have happened and try to learn from them. The American Alpine Club does just that in its annual publication Accidents in North American Mountaineering. The publication includes only actual climbing accidents, as distinguished from other mishaps that occur in mountainous regions. It describes only those accidents that are voluntarily reported, so it doesn't include numerous unpublicized incidents. The accidents represent only a fraction of...

Hanging Belays

Hauling System

Upon reaching the end of the pitch, the leader establishes an anchor as a new belay station fig. 11-27 . Place this anchor, when possible, to the side of the route especially if you are sack hauling so that your second can easily climb through. Also try to place at least one aid piece at the start of the next pitch to give the second a stance while changing leads. When establishing your anchor, make sure all anchor points including the haul anchor are connected to all other anchor points. If an...

Acclimatization

The body needs time to acclimate to higher altitude. However, the time it takes to adapt varies from person to person. Ascend at a moderate rate, averaging 1,000 feet a day in net elevation gain. If you are doing double carries, this may mean establishing camps at 2,000-foot intervals so that you carry one day and move camp the next, for a net gain of 2,000 feet every two days. If the suitable campsites are 3,000 feet apart, you can carry one day, move camp the next, and rest the third day, for...

Winter And Expedition Climbing

Climbers enter a new world of effort and commitment when they take on winter or expedition climbing. There are big differences between the weekend alpine climbing practiced by most climbers and the winter and expeditionary mountaineering of the serious amateur climber or the professional alpine mountaineer. Winter climbing brings severe conditions that require specialized equipment, a high level of skill, and a tremendous will to succeed. Expedition climbing demands the skills of winter...

Techniques Of Protection Leading A Pitch

Reducing Drag Quick Draws Zigzag

After you get to know the tools for protection and how to place them, it's time for the next move literally. It's one thing to recognize a Stopper and a hex and a Friend and to be able to use them in individual placements. You can learn all this at home or while standing safely at the base of a cliff. It's another thing to get up on the cliff and take the lead. You now need to learn the protection techniques that let you use these tools safely in mapping strategy for an entire pitch. You'll...

Training Goals And Regimens

A training program should be designed to develop and maintain strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. Added benefits will be greater confidence and fluidity on the rock. The energy required for muscular contraction is derived from three energy-producing systems each of which produces adenosine triphosphate ATP , the final common source of chemical energy for muscle . The primary source of energy for sustained or repeated muscular contraction requires oxygen and is referred to as the...

Rockfall hazard

Snowfields and glaciers are prime targets for rockfall from bordering walls and ridges espe cially on volcanic peaks, where the rock is often rotten and unstable. Climbers can reduce rockfall danger by wearing hard hats in hazardous areas and by timing climbs for less dangerous periods. Early-season outings usually face less rockfall than summer climbs because snow still helps cement loose rock in place. Whatever the season, the general rule for glacier climbs is early on and early off....

Searching with avalanche rescue beacons

Avalanche Rescue Beacon

The small electronic device known as an avalanche rescue beacon is the principal tool for finding buried victims. A rescue beacon can be switched to either transmit or receive signals at a set radio frequency. Rescue depends on each member of a climbing party carrying a beacon, which during the climb is left switched on to the transmit mode. Searchers switch their beacons to the receive mode to zero in on the automatic transmission from a victim. A rescuer who has taken the time to practice...

Physical and mental conditioning

Glacial Travel

Training for an expedition involves both physical and mental preparation. For the body, emphasize cardiovascular training and strength training equally. Cardiovascular conditioning is important for physical activity at high altitudes. Powerful leg muscles are needed to walk heavy loads up the mountain, and upper-body strength is needed to hoist and carry the large expeditionary packs. Climbing itself is the best training. Climb often and in all weather conditions, carrying a heavy pack. If you...

The Ice

Carrying Ice Axe

The tool is called an ice axe, but it's really an invaluable all-purpose item that often goes to work long before snow or ice is reached. The axe has a lot of unsuspected uses. It pro vides a third leg during stream fording. It gives a brief touch-and-go balance point while you hop across talus. It also helps with balance on steep trails, serving as a heavy-duty cane going uphill and a brake going down. The axe held diagonally across the body, spike touching the slope, will help you hold a...

Rigging Guy Lines On Mountaineering Tent

Lowland Tarp

The choice of a tent depends on what you like and what you plan to use it for. Will it be used only in the summer, or for three or four seasons of the year Above or below timberline For you alone, or for two people, or three, or four Are you after luxurious space, or just the bare minimum How much weight are you willing to carry How much money are you able to spend Manufacturers offer almost any combination of size, weight, and design. The choice is yours, after consulting catalogs, stores,...