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Thread: Best place to learn how to climb?

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian in SLC
    Quote Originally Posted by redbonez
    Quick question, would boots like these work fine or do I really need "ice climbing" boots?
    http://www.rei.com/product/721359
    You'd need strap-on's, baby.

    I started ice climbing with strap-on crampons (salewa's methinks). They can work ok IF you have stiff boots. Those boots look pretty floppy.

    Yeah, its a poor carpenter that blames the tools, but, for steeper water ice, a stiff boot is nice.

    -Brian in SLC
    Gotta love it. My first crampons were rusty, hinged, strap-on's I bought from REI rentals. They had horizontal, flat front points. I had one ice axe, and used my alpine axe with the classic alpine pic curve.

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  3. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by jumar
    Gotta love it. My first crampons were rusty, hinged, strap-on's I bought from REI rentals. They had horizontal, flat front points. I had one ice axe, and used my alpine axe with the classic alpine pic curve.
    Too funny. You dance with them who brung ya, I guess.

    Some "friends" got me into ice climbing and I bought their leftover stuff. First crampons were the salewa hinged with straps, which, actually worked kinda ok but the saving grace was that this was the early 80's, and big, stiff waffle stomper boots were in vogue. I had a pair of leather Kastinger Cirques, I think they were called. Really fairly stiff. My first tool was a 80 or 90 cm SMC ice axe, paired, silly enough, with a short Chouinard alpine hammer. Too funny. (As an aside, I had Chouinard sign it a couple years ago, and, he commented that he'd probably made it personally, kinda cool to know).

    Thankfully, after climbing a few times, I saw an ad in the paper, serendipity, and a guy who'd gone whole hog on the ice gear (a rich big game hunter who'd hired Tackle as a guide and outfitted himself to the nines) was looking to off load his entire set up. Picked up a Chouinard Zero ice axe, 50cm, and a Forest Mjollinar hammer, so, relegated the very short Chouinard alpine hammer to third tool status. He musta felt sorry for the poor student, and unloaded his rope, screws, biners, everything for a really low price (less than what you'd pay for either of the Coonyard tools on ebay now, as collectables).

    So, off I go with my new gear on my first lead, which was a WI 3 in Hyalite Canyon. I get about 30 feet off the deck and promptly spear the center of my fat 11mm rope with my crampons, and, dang if I couldn't shake the rope from the darn point. Wiggin' out a tad, I stick my arm through the sling of the tool (the popular rig at the time to allow stuffing your arm through the sling to your elbow crook, so's to be able to hold onto an ice screw, none of this one handed stuff), grab a screw, and fuss mightily until the threads finally bite, and slowly use the tip of my hammer to turn the screw into the ice. Whole process seemed to take HOURS. Clipped in, then was able to reach down and pluck the rope from my crampon point. Re-tied in, past the gobbied spot in the rope, and finished the lead with a bit more attention payed to that rope. Prior to that, had only TR'd so hadn't really considered spearing the rope.

    Was too funny, although, at the time, I got fairly worked over it.

    Next tool upgrades was to buy plastic boots: Kastinger Karakorums (I seemed to recall liking the photo of Messner and Habeler on the box) on sale at a local shop. Soon after, took an ice seminar from Jack "java man" Tackle and he sold me his Footfangs which had been beat to schreds on his recent West Ridge of Everest attempt. Still have them (they say "Java" on the red plastic plates). Great crampons, and, to this day they work as well as about anything, IMHO (although they've been in retirement for a number of years, to be sure). Jack was a walking yard sale for cheap gear back then.

    Didn't really get tool upgrades until the Chouinard X-tools came out, in the mid 80's or so. Was one of the first tools with interchangeable picks that were also a recurve pick option. Bought a hammer (stamped #12 on the bottom, kinda cool) from a shop in Hamilton, MT, and, I still feel sorta bad that I got them for the pick price as the kid ringing them up couldn't find another price tag on them. Worked for this poor student, though.

    Didn't really see the recurve pick thing as a huge improvement, and, most of my partners and I climbed with classic picked tools off and on for quite awhile (and still for alpine ice). Seems like I have a video of Kitty climbing Stone Free, a WI 5 in Rifle, with classic picks and she hikes it.

    Biggest difference in gear, to me, is the screws. Went from two handed with a stance or tie off required, to fast and one handed. Huge diff.

    Couple of us keep talking about going up on the GWI with the old gear, leather boots, strap on's, straight wood shafted classic tools. Be pretty fun. Still not much feels better than the thunk of an old, bamboo shafted, Chouinard ice tool. Solid.

    Anyhoo, cheers!

    -Brian in SLC

  4. #23
    (As an aside, I had Chouinard sign it a couple years ago, and, he commented that he'd probably made it personally, kinda cool to know).
    That IS cool

    Soon after, took an ice seminar from Jack "java man" Tackle and he sold me his Footfangs which had been beat to schreds on his recent West Ridge of Everest attempt. Still have them (they say "Java" on the red plastic plates). Great crampons, and, to this day they work as well as about anything, IMHO (although they've been in retirement for a number of years, to be sure). Jack was a walking yard sale for cheap gear back then.
    I've got an old pair of foot fangs myself. We usually put them on whoever's wearing the biggest pair of our spare plastics. That's cool you have Jack's though. All sorts of cool climbing history in your gear pile!

  5. #24
    So who would be available if we wanted to do a little group thing on the 26th? I'm starting with a new client sometime around then, so I'm not sure if I'm available yet. But thought I'd see if anyone else is.

    What other weekends would work for you guys who expressed interest in going?

    We might be able to do a week night sometime next week too...

  6. #25
    Aspiring Trail Bum Bad Karma's Avatar
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    I can do it anytime after next week. Monday nights are bad, but any weeknight other than that is good.

  7. #26
    I would be available the 26th.
    Afraid of death? I am more afraid of going through life without ever really living...

  8. #27
    It looks like I can get away Saturday morning. So who's down? Still working on what time to go. Probably just go up to Stairway to Heaven up Provo Canyon, it's close and there's plenty of ice. We'll likely want to get a relatively early start to try to beat the crowds.
    Redbonez said he was available. Anyone else?

    If you have the money, I'd recommend renting boots and crampons from hansen's in Orem, or REI. Just ask them for ice climbing boots and crampons. If you are cheap (like me), I have spares you can use that work fine. A lot of it is just kind of old, and not as good as what they now rent.

  9. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by jumar
    It looks like I can get away Saturday morning. So who's down? Still working on what time to go. Probably just go up to Stairway to Heaven up Provo Canyon, it's close and there's plenty of ice. We'll likely want to get a relatively early start to try to beat the crowds.
    Remember, the OR is in town, and, it ends on Saturday this year. There could be a TON of folks gettin' an ice fix in the early a.m. on Saturday, especially Stairway.

    You're right, though. Plenty of ice. Not sure how far left you can go versus the risk of gettin' bombed from above. Another option would be those climbs to the right, around the corner from Stairway. Low traffic there. Another spot I've used is up and left from Bridleveil. Seems like there's a nice piece of ice up there too. Although, if there's much snow out of this storm coming thursday night, I'd keep an eye on the avy hazard if going in that direction.

    You're local stash (BC) might also be a good spot. Its pretty off the radar.

    Have fun, be safe.

    -Brian in SLC

  10. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian in SLC
    Quote Originally Posted by jumar
    It looks like I can get away Saturday morning. So who's down? Still working on what time to go. Probably just go up to Stairway to Heaven up Provo Canyon, it's close and there's plenty of ice. We'll likely want to get a relatively early start to try to beat the crowds.
    Remember, the OR is in town, and, it ends on Saturday this year. There could be a TON of folks gettin' an ice fix in the early a.m. on Saturday, especially Stairway.

    You're right, though. Plenty of ice. Not sure how far left you can go versus the risk of gettin' bombed from above. Another option would be those climbs to the right, around the corner from Stairway. Low traffic there. Another spot I've used is up and left from Bridleveil. Seems like there's a nice piece of ice up there too. Although, if there's much snow out of this storm coming thursday night, I'd keep an eye on the avy hazard if going in that direction.

    You're local stash (BC) might also be a good spot. Its pretty off the radar.

    Have fun, be safe.

    -Brian in SLC
    Thanks for the head's up, didn't know the OR show was this week.

  11. #30
    I can do pretty much any time that day. What size spare boots do you have? I would like borrow some of your old gear this first time out so that I can get a feel for it, if that is ok. If not I will get some rentals, no big deal.
    Afraid of death? I am more afraid of going through life without ever really living...

  12. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by redbonez
    I can do pretty much any time that day. What size spare boots do you have? I would like borrow some of your old gear this first time out so that I can get a feel for it, if that is ok. If not I will get some rentals, no big deal.
    I have various different sizes. What size do you need?

  13. #32
    Go ahead and email me or call me and we'll work out the details
    jeff.a.baird(AT)gmail.com
    8014276433

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