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TR/New tools or guide?


Original Post
t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60

I've been saving up some money for ice climbing this winter. Wanted to get some opinions on the two options that I see:

1) Buy new tools and top rope as I already have a rope/everything I would need to top rope

or

2) Climb with a guide a few times with borrowed gear

Either way, I think I'd get in the same amount of time climbing. I've gone with a guide once before which has been the extent of my ice climbing, so I have a very small understanding of what I'm doing (enough to get to the top at least). I suppose a third option would be to get tools and find someone who knows what they're doing (that isn't a guide), but I don't think that is as easy as it sounds where I am. So yeah, climb with a certified professional leading me up awesome multi pitch routes or getting laps on less exciting top rope with shiny new tools?

Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 35

if you can get top access to rig TRs, I would spend a season as a top rope hero. Being a great climber is fairly pointless if you can't actually go climbing. Guides are always a good idea, and the bump to leading ice is prime "hire a guide" territory. Getting one guided day would be beneficial and fun, but a whole season of climbing ice would likely be really FUN.

Putting mileage down is a pretty good way to learn, especially if you read and try to learn good habits. just my .02

(all this is assuming you are capable of safely rigging a TR)

Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 35

Also, don't buy new tools either way, pick up a set on here and save yourself some coin.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745

I don't think you're ready to set off top-roping on your own yet, based on your statement of 3 weeks ago:

"I am pretty new to climbing and my only anchor experience comes from what I've read in books."

So at least one day with a guide would be my recommendation. That will also let you try at least a couple different ice tools, which, believe it or not, might help you decide which type of tools you want to buy.

t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60

I know enough to sling a few trees safely for top rope but point taken. Certainly not considering top roping off of anything other than solid trees. I also like to think that by the time it's ice season I'll be a little more proficient than I currently am.

RobC2 Cotter · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 240

Is this a trick question? Get your own tools.

Dylan B. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2006 · Points: 938

Just remember that while approaching the top of any kind of climb to set a TR can be dangerous, it is particularly treacherous when covered in snow and ice. If the approach to the top is not flat and clear, be sure to anchor in and lower yourself down to where you're setting the anchor.

RobC2 Cotter · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2009 · Points: 240

Yeah don't feckin kill yerself...

Matt Carroll · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 35
RobC2 wrote:Yeah don't feckin kill yerself...
+1
BigB · · Red Rock, NV · Joined Feb 2015 · Points: 340

Yer
Gunna
Die

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
t.farrell wrote:I know enough to sling a few trees safely for top rope but point taken. Certainly not considering top roping off of anything other than solid trees. I also like to think that by the time it's ice season I'll be a little more proficient than I currently am.
The set-ups at Asbestos Wall and Herdman (Catskills) are certainly that straightforward. But all it takes is a slick stick/log hidden in the snow at the lip to ruin your day.

In terms of buying used tools, here's my $0.02. Tools make A LOT more difference in your climbing than crampons. So while IMO most folks will do fine on crampons that are a generation or two out of style, old tools like Pulsars/Rambos/X-15s (which show up from time to time for $125/pair) as well as the off brands (HB, Omega, Cassin etc) aren't really the bargain they appear to be. Even rank beginners climb much better on modern tools. No need to shell out $600 for Cobras though; climb a pitch with something like the Trango Raptors and you'll see they are a worthwhile investment.
Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20
Gunkiemike wrote: The set-ups at Asbestos Wall and Herdman (Catskills) are certainly that straightforward. But all it takes is a slick stick/log hidden in the snow at the lip to ruin your day. In terms of buying used tools, here's my $0.02. Tools make A LOT more difference in your climbing than crampons. So while IMO most folks will do fine on crampons that are a generation or two out of style, old tools like Pulsars/Rambos/X-15s (which show up from time to time for $125/pair) as well as the off brands (HB, Omega, Cassin etc) aren't really the bargain they appear to be. Even rank beginners climb much better on modern tools. No need to shell out $600 for Cobras though; climb a pitch with something like the Trango Raptors and you'll see they are a worthwhile investment.
I'll second all of this with the exception that Cassin tools are not bargain tools. I've climbed with a lot of different tools out there, Petzl, BD, DMM, Grivel, and I prefer my Cassin X-all mountain to anything else on ice. Petzl Ergo are still my tools of choice on mixed. Cassin Blade Runner crampons are also pretty awesome.

For real though, be very careful setting up top ropes. A couple of years ago an experienced climber died when she slipped off of an icy ledge setting a top rope on a route. Be safe, climb lots of laps in lots of conditions and temperatures and learn to "read" the ice. It's a ton of fun and makes a long cold winter a lot more enjoyable.
Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 650

Agreed with the above... Cassin tools are some of the best you can buy.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 266

1) Find a course that teaches you to lead.
2) Be cool and make friends in said course.
3) Climb with new friends in the future.

Having climbed once with a guide in the past does not really put you in a position to lead anything above...say.....WI1.

t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60

So here's another one. I have Grivel G12s. Am I better off buying the G14 front (and new points and the bolt to hold the points) for $100 and using with my G12 back or should I try to find some used ones? Seems like people always want at least $150

Michael Schneider · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 750
Gunkiemike wrote:I don't think you're ready to set off top-roping on your own yet, based on your statement of 3 weeks ago: "I am pretty new to climbing and my only anchor experience comes from what I've read in books." So at least one day with a guide would be my recommendation. That will also let you try at least a couple different ice tools, which, believe it or not, might help you decide which type of tools you want to buy.
OPTION 2 !

T ! ,you are not listening, ice climbing adds many more variables than simple fair-weather
sling-shot top rope rock climbing set ups and break downs.
You will not have anywhere near the needed experience.
After going hard all day, you need to be able to safely assess the changing or changed conditions
then, cold stiff & tired, you need to break down the frozen to the top anchor and rearrange a safe retreat. This takes time and a cautious approach.
While I am one of the 1st to say that it is not as complex as surgical endeavors, there is the need to be surgically precise and ever-vigilant ~ Fully totally focused on the minutiae
( I think you know this !)
But Go for it
Make Lite of it if you will, but if you think it's the same as rock climbing you are in for a surprise
Catskills ice, particularly the thing Asbestos wall - sheds - gets climbed out, blown out by sun
exposure . There is also 'good(?)' lower angle mixed stuff across the road that sees less sun and fewer if any climbers
Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,745
Nick Sweeney wrote:Agreed with the above... Cassin tools are some of the best you can buy.
I meant (but didn't specifically say) that the older, PRE-CAMP MERGER Cassin tools e.g. the Mirage, aren't so good. Current CAMP-Cassin tools absolutely rock. I've been a fan since the Awax tools came out >10 years ago.
t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60
Michael Schneider wrote: You will not have anywhere near the needed experience going hard all day then when tired trying to break down the frozen to the top anchor and rearrange a safe retreat. ( I think you know this !).
Aren't u supposed to use ice clippers since those metal rock climbing carabiners freeze in the cold?

In all seriousness though, I will not try anything that I feel jeopardizes my safety. I will admit that I wouldn't trust a trad anchor that I've built (since I've never done it before/learned to do it, but I believe that post that was referenced is where the skepticism is coming from). I do know how to set up TR, and spent a good deal of time on Catskills ice...just never the vertical stuff. Not something I plan on approaching recklessly.
Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 983
t.farrell wrote: I will admit that I wouldn't trust a trad anchor that I've built ....I do know how to set up TR
Originally I was thinking option 1 was the obvious choice.
Now with that post, I think 2 is the better path.
t.farrell · · New York, NY · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 60

Can I ask why 2? I'm not going to be using screws. Just slinging trees. Pretty straight forward.

Jason Todd · · Cody, WY · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 983

Well, that's a trad anchor.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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