Friday, October 28, 2011

Late October in Leavenworth, Wa.

Headed over to Leavenworth, Washington a couple days ago and this is the tops of the mountains. Looking a bit wintery. 

We met up in Bellevue at 5 am and started driving, we wanted to climb a long route and have plenty of time. Turns out our efforts were in vain. Did you know it gets light later in the day in winter? Especially when it's cloudy? Aside from the light, it was cold. A whopping 24 degrees when we stepped out of the car.

Ben wishing for a bigger coat.

Looking up at the Condor Buttress

We went for a climb called Condorphamine Addiction 7 pitches 5.10b sport. We picked it because if the sun was gonna shine, we would get some. It never really did. The loooong hike up warmed us up, though!

This is cold rock


This is roughly 4 pitches up, and my hands were finally not frozen. Just in time for the 5.10b pitches. We were climbing in all our layers, puffy coats, soft shells. We tried climbing in gloves, but I'm not good enough.

I would have taken more pics, but I couldn't feel my hands.

Looking down from the top of pitch 5


Winter Climbing?

We finished up and headed into Leavenworth for coffee to get warm again. All in all a beautiful and cold day of WA climbing. As an aside, if you drive from Seattle to Leavenworth stop in the small town of Sultan and hit the Bakery. I ate one of the most delicious breakfast sandwiches I've ever eaten. Consider yourself enlightened.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Castleton Tower, Finally!

I was in Utah for a few days, so I met up with my climbing partner and all around general pal, Eric, to go redeem myself on this iconic tower. The first time I tried ended up being such a clustercuss of morale, core shots and general stupidity that I didn't get very far. So I was hoping for a better try this time.

Eric drove down to my house in Price and we got up the next morning to head south to Castle Valley. We had a weather forecast of Partly Sunny, and ended up driving in the rain all the way to Moab. We told ourselves the whole way that the rain would clear up the closer we got. It fully did not. So we got some coffee and headed back to my house, 'cuz there is a hot tub there.

Day Two dawned much better, something like this:

So we jumped in the car and drove to Moab and here's some more pictures:

Looking up the first pitch. The dudes in front of us are hauling BASE jumping gear, and yes, one of them jumped.

This is the view from the sitting stance in the couple of pictures above.

Myself and Eric getting ready to rap after a perfect sunset. And yes, we did hike down in the dark, and yes, we brought headlamps.

The BASE jumper was amazing and as soon as I figure out how to upload and edit videos I'll post up a clip of the jumper. Amazing.

The route we climbed, Kor-Ingalls, was pretty fun and aesthetic. The climbing was wierd and sustained chimney climbing. Definitely not something I'm used to, but I'll try it again eventually. Right after all my skin grows back.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

As a personal update, I have moved base from Utah to Seattle WA. After experience the amazingness of the NW mountains and proximity to the ocean again I'm hooked. So if you're looking for me I'll be skiing or climbing in the Cascades or kayaking through some islands somewhere.

I know a guy in SLC who build these little camera helicopters in his basement. He does commercials and advertising stuff. Very cool

Heli Test #1 from Mutiny Bikes on Vimeo.

Ropes and Crampons DO mix!

I found this article on the Alpine Club of Canada website. Counter-intuitive and very interesting.


Several years ago the German Alpine Club investigated the damage to ropes caused by stepping on them with boots. They concluded that a rope could not be noticably damaged by such action. However, they did not do away with German tradition - the guilty party still has to pay for a beer. Similar tests were performed using crampons.

Boot test:
A 90° angel iron was used as the edge and a multifall rope (minimum number of nine falls) draped over the edge. A person weighing 80 kg stepped on the rope and rolled three time back and forth with full body weight. This process was repeated 13 times at a spacing of 1.5 cm. The rope then underwent the UIAA drop test. The damaged area was placed at the orifice, the carabiner edge of the test apparatus. In another test the damaged area was placed in the free length of the rope. In both instances the number of falls held was still nine.

While one cannot say that stepping on the rope did not cause damage, one can say that it is negligible.

Crampon test:
This test was more difficult to execute. An 80 kg person stepped on the rope with new crampons, which rested on a stone surface and twisted the foot. While the rope cross section deformed, the crampon point was not able to penetrate the rope. In order to be more certain, the crampon point was hammered into the rope until the point could be felt on the other side. The mantle fibes were then removed with a hard pointy tool until the tip of the crampon was visible (see figure). This was again done 13 times at a spacing of 1.5 cm. The test results were the same as above - the rope still held nine falls.

With regular crampon use and no obious damage to the mantle, there is no need to retire a rope, if a climber steps on it with a crampon. Keep in mind that these tests are done on a rock base. Stepping on a rope in snow can well be ignored. In almost every instance, the rope rolls sideways and because of the soft base, there cannot be any penetration.

Some ice climbers sharpen the points of their crampons like a knife, much sharper than when they are purchased. The test was repeated with such a crampon point, which not only had a very sharp point but also sharp edges like a knife. This point penetrated the rope with the same ease as a pointed, sharp knife. The result: the rope held only four falls. While this is of some concern, a rope is still unlikely to be cut over a rock edge after such damage occurs. Furthermore, the damaged area has to be over such an edge, an unlikely event. Again it is questionable whether this damage could be reproduced when stepping on the rope in snow.

The conclusion is that damage to a rope by stepping on it has been clearly exaggerated, even with crampons.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

First Time at Smith Rocks!

I recently spent about 4 days climbing in Smith Rocks State Park in Oregon, near Bend. We bailed down here from the North Cascades after some particularly dubious looking weather (see previous post). We had bluebird days and warm weather. We met up with Lauren and Sapna and had a great time showing Sapna some basic climbing skills. Lauren is an ace climber. Nuff said.

Mmm. Coffee with the beautiful Ms. Jackson

This little route is called 5 Gallon Buckets. Nice and easy and a great route for beginners.

We watched the group in front of us totally fall apart on this little 2 pitch route. We waited for them to finish and cruised it. Fun climbing, great gear. Spiderman 5.7

This is the 5.7 roof. Way easier than it looks.

We are fully ready for dinner.

This is from a 5 pitch sport route called Wherever I May Roam 5.9. It's well bolted, lots of exposed face climbing and great belay stations. Definitely worth a climb if you're in the neighbor hood.

Smith was pretty hard for me to climb, as I tend to gravitate toward crack climbing and don't have a lot of face/sport experience. It took a couple days to learn how to move better over the rock but it was great overall.