How to Enjoy…and Survive, Your First Mixed-Ice Climbing Experience | Part 2

[ See part 1 of this article ]

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of climbing, let’s go over what options you have for tools. There are leashed and leash-less tools. Leashed tools have straps that go around you wrist. The leashes help take some of your body weight off your hands and distributes it on your wrists. A few problems that you may face when climbing with leashes are cold hands from the leash cutting blood flow, difficulty placing screws and you really can’t match or switch hands.

Climbing leash-less allows for a full range of movement and allows for a more “free” style of climbing. Just make sure not to drop them because they aren’t attached to you, but on multi-pitch climbs you can attach them to you or your harness via cottontails. Cottontails are long pieces of cord that you attach to your person so if you drop them they don’t fall to the ground.

Now it’s time to climb! Before you go swinging your razor sharp tools and crampons into that virgin ice, make sure your hands and feet are nice and warm because if you leave the ground with cold hands, the chance the screaming [Read More]

How to Enjoy…and Survive, Your First Mixed-Ice Climbing Experience

[ This article is part of a 2-part series about Mixed-Ice Climbing, by Mike Caputo ]

Fall and winter are coming up soon…here is some advice for winter alpine climbing.

For the past few weeks, I’ve turned to the dark side of climbing and have experienced all of the side effects of higher altitude cragging. The reason I say dark side is because mixed-ice climbing takes place in harsh, wet and generally un-savory places. However, don’t be dissuaded from trying this amazing discipline of climbing. Winter in the backcountry can be a very awe-inspiring and magical place. Here are some tips to stay warm, dry, and most importantly, have fun. This means, of course, to do whatever you can to avoid the “screaming barfies,” (Over-gripping the tool; your hands above your head for too long; just being out in the bitter cold until they are numb. Once you have a chance to thaw your hands, blood starts flowing again and your fingers start to tingle and burn with such intensity, you just might be compelled to scream your head off and feel like vomiting…the “screaming barfies”.) Every climb has five parts: planning, the approach, sitting around (going over the [Read More]