I finally found the time to sharpen up my tools and get out and climb. It was a blast and considering this was my first alpine-esque climb it went well. I say alpine-esque because it was more like alpine cragging. It was the first time I’ve had a snow approach, sunk rock pro while ice climbing and had to kick out a stance for a belay and I’m going to call that alpine. Good stuff and I can’t wait to get more.
Oh, about the pictures. We had to bail mid-climb for reasons I’m not going to get into. I took some of the pictures on the rap down but you don’t rap the route.
I’m moving to Seattle in a month and am finally going to be able to ice climb on a semi-regular basis. I’m stoked but also a little anxious because ice climbing is my weakest area as far as experience goes. Perusing the ‘net I found this nifty video of Petzl doing field tests of ice screw strength. My takeaways are that the threads of the ice screw are where the strength is at and ice screws fail not because they slide out but because they get torqued and the ice above them flakes off. Taking the next logical step, for the strongest ice screw placement I would want to minimize torquing by placing them at a slight downward angle (the direction of a fall) which would put as much force as possible on the threads of the ice screw.
After an unfortunate hiatus from climbing I finally got back out there this weekend for some ice climbing on Highway 215 in North Carolina. It was my first time ice climbing in NC and it was some gold ol’ stress free fun. The approach is non-existent considering you are belaying from the ditch beside the road and the runs are a decent 50-60 feet. I have no idea of the names of the routes or their grades but I have minimal ice climbing experience and I found it challenging but doable.
While I was there I had the opportunity to try out some CAMP Awax tools. I normally climb with Petzl Aztars which are solid tools that I would neither classify as heavy nor light. Compared to my Aztars the CAMP Awax were ridiculously light. I played around with them a bit and they felt balanced and not flimsy considering their light weight. By the time I used them the ice had softened up a bit so I didn’t get to use them on “bullet-proof” ice but on the softer ice they held up quite well.