Monday, November 13, 2006

Sunday climbing post (and a gear review)

So despite the slush (see the posting below) we did pop out today and do some ice climbing. It snowed the whole time, soggy fine stuff, the snow equivalent of drizzle. All through the forest you could hear the sound of dripping. Not particularly inspiring. I backed down from leading one short line I tried unable to even get my shortest screw in. Big Toni* found a bit more ice a few metres to the left (photo above) but still got the fear good finding a total lack of ice on the ledge just above him in the photo. Some slight gibbering and swearing in two languages followed before he managed to teeter onto easier ground. I had actually worked out my running route away from the cliff to try and take in enough slack rope to stop him hitting the ground had he fallen. Fortunately this wasn't necessary. I told him after that's he's always been a ballsier ice climber than me, to which he responded "is that a polite way of saying I'm stupid?" You might have a point dude. :-)

I promised a few people on UKC I'd report back how my new boots were going, and now I've done a few routes in them here are my first thoughts. The different fit to the well known Sportiva Nepal Extremes isn't as bad as I had first imagined. So far my feet aren't complaining much, so I think I could say anyone interested in pair should just get the same size as any other Sportiva boots they have. They are very light, and very rigid in the sole, but the ankle is noticeably less supportive than with the Nepals. Of course that is one of the reasons most people would go for them - they are light and have very good mobility. A question lots of people have about the lighter winter boots is how warm are they? So far I've been pleasantly surprised. Last week it was heading down towards -10 oC and they were fine in the few hours we were out, but there was little snow. This week although the temperature was around freezing, the snow was deeper and really damp: normally a good combination for cold feet but in three hours of climbing and belaying I had no problems - perhaps I need to re-evaluate my opinion on the stupidity of goretex lined footwear. The biggest problem so far is getting the lacing right - too tight and it digs into my ankle painfully. Too loose and although no pain, the boots feel disconcertingly sloppy when you are on your front points. I can further review them once I've done some longer days and more serious climbs in them.

The pic above is of Big Toni on a line at the right of cliff that I have never seen form before. Although the weather doesn't look good for the week ahead with temperatures above freezing, the amount of seepage and ice after just the first couple of weeks of subzero temps, suggests it might be a good season.

*It should be noted that Big Toni isn't particularly big, just that he is bigger than Little Toni.


James said...

Thanks for the great review and pictures i love climbing when the cliff has ice down it looks magical and reminds me of christmas especialy this time of year.

ed said...

try this: