Saturday, January 29, 2011

Calabogie, ice climbing

I head out to Calabogie on Friday to try my hand at ice climbing. It was a mild -3 degrees C which meant soft ice and no freezing while belaying. Perfect conditions for a first timer like me.

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Me pumped out

We started on a easy ground with a 15m (guessing here) WI2 that Pete led. Ok, now my turn but on TR, of course. Stepping up to the base I set my axes and started up. I found the biggest issue was getting reasonable feet so I did not over work my arms. Part of the problem was, at first, my secondary points were not making contact because of my gummie ice climbing style. The other issue was that my boots are not made for climbing or crampons for that matter. Anyway, I thrashed my way to the top without coming off. I was happy with my first ice climb. We each TR this route a couple more time.

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Next up was a 20m WI3 which made things more interesting. On my first attempt I try to just power my way up but I got so pumped at the top I had to take for fear of dropping my tools. After the first climb of the day we dropped the leashes, so much better. Without leashes you can shakeout the pump, match on tools, switch hands and in general just have more options when climbing. Anyway, I learned my lesson. I took my time during my other climbs and managed my pump by resting at good stances. I think we climbed this WI3 three more times.

Other lessons learned include: bulky gloves lead to over gripping and pump, hooking on featured ice can be beneficial and look for natural foot holds before just kicking away at the ice.

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