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New Ice Tool Video Review of all the Petzl Tools! This really rocks!
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By Dane
Mar 4, 2013
Cham '11
First off? Welcome back Michael!

I climbed many of the early Canadian 5s and 6 in the late' 70s and early '80s. First time I saw a decent screw go in @ the turn of this Century, I bitched at my partner to "at least put in a decent screw if you ar going to bother stop and place one!"

It went in so fast and so easy I figured it had to be shite!

So I have literally seen it all for water fall climbing..beginning to date.

Get a pair of Nomics and some Grivel Helix ice screws. It will save you going through a lot of other stuff and ending up there anyway. Find the boot that fits you best..there is a bunch of good ones available from the usual suspects. Crampons? They have sadly gotten worse, not better.But most are decent...just not great. Hard to beat the old rigids. Rambo likely the only one up to par with a Footfang for climbing steep ice. But not it aint just steep ice. Petzl does a great job on crampons as well. Then there is the stretchy and super warm, super light weight clothing that is waterprrof and actually does breath.

If you want a fun read of how I went from a pair of Chacals to a Nomic you might like this :) The CT blog is basically all the stuff I have learned or thought about in the last 40 years of ice climbing. I'd bet it isn't far off from what you have been thinking lately.

coldthistle.blogspot.com/2012/...

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By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2013
Dane,
Thanks for the info. Yup - you're absoultely right. We both climbed during an era where Low Hummingbirds were 'the thing' as well as Footfangs, SMC or Chouinard rigid crampons. And damn did they work! Some guys loved Footfangs - some hated them. I personally - liked them and have seem some brand new ones hit eBay for sale on and off. My FAV hamemr was a short Forrest Mjollor (sp?) that Bill Forrest made. I'd give anyhting to find another one now - just to have as a 'backup tool' and for my collection. I also still have some brand new Lowe/Camp SNARGS!

OK, this is what I use now for my ice gear:
Koflach Degre boots
Petzl Vasak crampons with steel bail step in bindings (love them) - but I am not yet convinced (I know I am gonna get flack for this statement - and I AM NOT trolling here) - that vertical configurated front points are the way to go yet. yes I know they mimic the picks on our ice tools and THEY work perfectly - must still be my Old School ways of thinking I guess.
1 BD Viper hammer
1 Petzl Nomic (first tooth filed off as shown in the Cold Thistle video)
North Face Gore Tex jacket
North Face fleece jacket
Fleece 1 pc Sallopettes (sp?)
Marmot Gore Tex Bibs
Nike 'Cold gear' type underwear

Thus far my skills are coming back to me again - slowly. I ahd my best friend break his ankle in the early 90's when I used to climb when he fell (I was not with them that day cli,bing) and his crampon snagged the ice on the way down and snapped his ankle. A risk we all know and assume for ourselves.
I ahd just gotten married at the time, bought our first home, as was not willing to 'lose it all' risking that happening to ME. he was self employefd and out of work for 6+ weeks with NO income. That and the hospital bill financially really set him back thousands of dollars. That was why I stopped climbing when I did....

I took rock climbing lessons from Don Mellor and ice climbing lessons from Jm Cunningham - both climbers who out up 1st ascents here in NY and NH - both wrote climbing guidebooks to the Adirondack's (where I learned to climb) and were great guys and teachers (as well as climbers).Back then I owned Chouinard 12 pt rigid crampons (old neoprene strap version) then I went to Grivel G2's (I think) that were a step in rigid crampon with the NEWER wire 'ski type' step in binding - and loved them as well. No dicking around with crampon straps again! LOL.

Back then all the ice tools had straight handles, Alpine type picks, tho drop picks were JUST starting to appear on the market. Forrest had one on his Mjollor hammer that I had a liked as well. The 'Rest as they say is history' now...

I def like my BD Viper hammer thus far and now ready to try out the Nomic. Should I find I like the Nomic better I will put my Viper on here for sale and then get a 2nd Nomic and run with 2 of them!
Thanks for the info...I will def check it out.

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Mar 5, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
Don't stop at just the first tooth. Undercut the first four or five teeth as well.

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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Mar 5, 2013
Epic free solo with a pack on
One other piece of advice: don't take everyone's advice. Go out, climb, and figure out what works for you. Climbing ice or rock is a personal experience and what works very well for one person may not work for others.

Have fun!

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Mar 5, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
Oh and get rid of those double plastics. Haha.. Seriously try La Sportivas or Scarpas leather boots. You think tools and screws have come a long way try climbing in a pair of Trangos or Guides. You can demo boots at any Ice Fest.

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Mar 5, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
I know what they say about opinions right? They like as$holes. Everyone has them and they all stink! It's mountain project..

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By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2013
Very impressive article Dane and makes a LOT of sense.
I too agree that if someone is gonna climb higher than the average of 70m - you'd be an idiot NOT to put a umbilical on your tools. Now I know manywilll disagree - but as you say - WHY take that chance of ruining a climb and having to rap off and descend, ruin a friendship, ruin a day of climbing, loss of a tool, etc. Just not worth it and from a safety standpoint as well either. When a guy drops $250-300 on ONE tool today - buying a 3rd tool to be your backup tool is a pretty expensive endeavor. Shite - a homemade umbilical is cheap!

letelt me ask you - I have had this discussion with a EMS employee at length. What do Yrecommendned as THE best way to make an umbilical?
Accessory cord? Sewn runner? Tied runner?

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By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2013
Kirby1013 wrote:
Don't stop at just the first tooth. Undercut the first four or five teeth as well.


Wow THAT many Kirby???

I wanted LaSportiva boots but didn't have $510 this year to drop on them when the Koflach's brand new were a mere $300 on sale! I don't get out half as much as I'd like ice climbing winters due to my job being an RN and working more winters b/c we see SO many elderly folks coming in the hospitals sick as hell with the flu, pneumonia, COPD, etc.

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By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2013
Dane - a employee at EMS told me about making a neat umbilical out of shock cord inside of 1" tubular webbing. From what I recall - he said he made his by threading a predetermined length of shock cord inside of the webbing and somehow tying knots or loops in the ends so the webbing was like 'crunched up' and short when not needed but if weight was applied to it then the shock cord would then stretch out to the length of the webbing.

I dunno if this even makes sense or is worth the hassle to make one of them versus just a fixelengthgh of webbing or cord from the bottom of the tool to the harness?

????

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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Mar 5, 2013
Epic free solo with a pack on
Yo. This is done pretty easily with some tubular webbing and shock cord. One of my buddies made a real nice set, with some of those tiny full-strength carabiners at the attachment point to the tools. This will be much better than a fixed length of webbing without shock cord as it will tuck it semi-out of the way when not engaged, but will still be full length and full strength when necessary.

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By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2013
Ben Brotelho wrote:
Yo. This is done pretty easily with some tubular webbing and shock cord. One of my buddies made a real nice set, with some of those tiny full-strength carabiners at the attachment point to the tools. This will be much better than a fixed length of webbing without shock cord as it will tuck it semi-out of the way when not engaged, but will still be full length and full strength when necessary.


Thanks Ben,
So do you have NAY idea HOW this is made using those components? How much shockcord & webbing? How the shockcord is knotted, etc?

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By Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Mar 5, 2013
Middle
Kirby1013 wrote:
Don't stop at just the first tooth. Undercut the first four or five teeth as well.


Cut off the first 6 inches of the pick, it'll never get stuck.

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By Dane
Mar 5, 2013
Cham '11
1973 after an ascent of Cascade waterfall WI3. Temp -30C and dropping but no wind. My second water ice lead, Sniveling gully had been the first a few weeks earlier.

1973 ice
1973 ice


Screws?, 6 total, 4 Salewa and 2 Charlet corkscrews. Rope 150' Eldelrid, biners are forged Chouinard Ds. Wool everything except for the down sweater and Chouidard Supergaters. Trappeur Pro single boots inside those gaiters, Dachstein mitts. Troll, Whillains harness, Chouinard rigid crampons, Chouinard alpine hammer and a 55cm Chouinard bamboo axe.

Seldom had more fun on the ice since. But this would likely be one day I did recently.

ice 2013
ice 2013


Right hand side of Weeping Wall, WI5, -15C and windy, Nomics, Dartwins, Scarpa 6000, Petzl Hirundos harness, 8 short Helix and 8 Mammut screams with Trango lwt biners and 60m Beal Ice Twins. Clothing is all synthetic, NWA saloppettes, Westcomb Neoshell Shift. OR Lumminary gloves.


Umbilicals? Grivel, Blue ice or chop the biners off the BD version and add anything better...as everything is. The webing on all three is hydrophobic and stronger than anything you'll make short of 1" webbing and a lot more managable. money well spent imo.


coldthistle.blogspot.com/2013/...


umbilicals
umbilicals

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Mar 5, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
Michael.. Just making a suggestion on boots. Totally understand about dropping all that coin. Nepals will make a nice difference though. Buy umbilical cords if you have $50. The BD ones stay out of the way more than the homemade ones. But what do I know.. I climbed Weeping Wall leashless

Ray.. To each their own when selecting equipment or detuning picks. I don't know how many times I've heard "Are you sure I'm suppose this much off" when someone's new with a file. Trust me if you don't like it I'll buy you new picks.

Dane.. I thought that right side of WW was a 6? That right side with the cave looked crazy stout last time I was there. We went up left, the easiest way! Hahaha..

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By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2013
Okay thanks I'll check into them.

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By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2013
Dane wrote:
1973 after an ascent of Cascade waterfall WI3. Temp -30C and dropping but no wind. My second water ice lead, Sniveling gully had been the first a few weeks earlier. Screws?, 6 total, 4 Salewa and 2 Charlet corkscrews. Rope 150' Eldelrid, biners are forged Chouinard Ds. Wool everything except for the down sweater and Chouidard Supergaters. Trappeur Pro single boots inside those gaiters, Dachstein mitts. Troll, Whillains harness, Chouinard rigid crampons, Chouinard alpine hammer and a 55cm Chouinard bamboo axe. Seldom had more fun on the ice since. tools-and.html


Wow! Pretty much what I had and used back in the 80s' and so....Chouinard 55 cm and 45 cm axe and hammer, Chouinard Screws, Lowe Snargs, Chouinard 12 pt rigid crampons, Lowe Footfangs, Koflach boots (white ones then - forgot their name), Dachstein wool socks and mittens, IME Gore Tex pants, Beal or Edelweiss ropes, Whillians harness (loevd that damn harness)! LOL.

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By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2013
Ahh found them!

Thanks!

mountaingear.com/webstore/Gear...

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By John Wilder
From Las Vegas, NV
Mar 5, 2013
Michael Urban wrote:
I agree. I like their products a lot - tho I hear their ropes have been 'less' than great from some climbers here as far as durability, etc. ???


Thats because Petzl outsources its ropes for profit. Their ropes are made by Cousin (I believe, unless they changed manufacturers) in France as well.

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By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2013
Found this article in my search for umbilicals.

Interesting 'Do It Yourself Project.'

Home-made Umbilical

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By Dane
Mar 5, 2013
Cham '11
tuned Petzl pick
tuned Petzl pick


I am not a big fan of tuning picks although I have done lots of them. The upper pick is a new Petzl ICE pick tuned to have similar performance of the much loved previous Petzl Cascade picks which I never have tuned. I still use the Cascade for pure ice myself given a choice.

The lower pick is a new ICE pick with the teeth I cut down a -BIT- circled in pink if I wanted to tune the pick for pure ice. It is the sharp angle on the first tooth that causes the new ICE pick to stick on removal in pure ice. It is also the tooth you what to hook on thin ice and hard mixed.

More here on Petzl picks:

coldthistle.blogspot.com/2011/...

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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Mar 5, 2013
Epic free solo with a pack on
Interesting Dane. So a question: could the very thing that makes my Quarks with ICE picks so damn good for thin, delaminated ice be what makes them kind of hard to remove on thick water ice after a solid swing?

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By Dane
Mar 5, 2013
Cham '11
Ben Brotelho wrote:
Interesting Dane. So a question: could the very thing that makes my Quarks with ICE picks so damn good for thin, delaminated ice be what makes them kind of hard to remove on thick water ice after a solid swing?



exactly....and why I don't generally tune mine. Simply different tools for different jobs.

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By Dane
Mar 5, 2013
Cham '11
Kirby1013 wrote:
I thought that right side of WW was a 6? That right side with the cave looked crazy stout last time I was there. We went up left, the easiest way! Hahaha..


RSWW is full value but never a WI6 even in the old days.
LSWW is a classic WI4, very comparable to and the same grade technically as Sniveling Gully. Imagine that with a short axe, a wrist sling and a Chouinard alpine hammer wih no sling while wearing wool mitts and screws you simply can't place!?

Makes even WI6 like this seem easy today...really, really easy as matter of fact. And no question, a hell of a lot safer.

Curtain Call WI6
Curtain Call WI6

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Mar 5, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenstein Amphitheater
Dane.. I have mad respect for you guys that been into the sport for a long time. I've used foot fangs and Hummingbirds so I have some idea of what it may have been like. I messed around with an Chouniard screw until a buddy said use your axe to turn the screw. That's when I gave up!!

I thought I read somewhere that RSWW was a 6, the middle a 5, and left a 4. Thanks for clearing that up. That whole wall is above my leading abilities. Haha..

I PMed you.

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By Unassigned User
Mar 5, 2013
Kirby,
that is correct - back then we had to screw in the ice screws using the pick of our axe or hammer and the same to remove them. Then, I believe - in the early 1990's Chouinard released a 'ratchet tool' much like a Snap On auto ratchet which fitted over the end of the ice screw and one could 'ratchet' the screw in just as-if tightening a nut on a bolt, or taking the same off. It was a great boon believe me - tho sometimes it was a biotch on the wrist! We also had Lowe 'Snargs' - which were (see my attached pic - I still have them and use them in a real bad bind!) a pound in, screw out ice piton. Once pounded in - if cold enuff outside, they would freeze into the ice within seconds - and believe me - they DID freeze tight - b/c they were a biotch to unscrew afterwards! One had to do some chopping of the ice all around a Snarg to get them out afterward! I have never taken a fall on one, but like all of Lowe products - I felt (and still feel) that had their place in ice pro and were pretty cool. Dane could prob reflect on this a lot more than I can being he has 10,000x more climbing experience and savvy than I prob ever will.

When step in binding crampons came out - we'd thought we had died and gone to Heaven! No more neoprene straps again!

FLAG


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