Author Topic: how I kicked the third tool habbit..  (Read 1121 times)

Online tradmanclimbz

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how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« on: January 26, 2013, 08:28:17 PM »
Way back in the days of grade 3 gullys on mt washington when I was a freshly hatched ice climber with egshells still stuck to my butt I always dragged a 3rd tool arround simply because that is what real mountaineres did. Eventually I progressed to leaveing the rope, rack, harness and 3rd tool at home.  Even on steeper stuff I am pretty sure I wittled it down to two Simond Chakal hammers.   I took a bit of a break and started climbing ice again in 1998. still had the old tools and screws, Even fit into my old IMS bibs..  graduated to  Grivel Machines, new screws and single boots around 2000ish  still no need for a 3rd tool. About 2003/4ish? I hooked up with BD Vipers and shortly thereafter broke my 2nd pick in 20+ years of ice climbing.  Suddenly a 3rd tool seemed like a good idea again.. Three more broken BD picks in the next 5 or so years kept me convinced that old straight tool hanging off my butt was a critical piece of equiptment. Twice I broke picks on the sharp end and finished up with the old Omega Venom. once leading 2nd pitch of Float like A butterfly land like a Tomato and  again soloing the 2nd pitch of Standard route @ frankenstine. Annother time  I simply stole Isa's machine to lead dracula as my BD pick broke in the first 10ft..  Finally I made the switch to petzle Quarks. the whole leashless thing made me think the 3rd tool was still a good idea even though I no longer had to worry about broken picks but now I had a Viper hanging off my butt with the hooked handle catching on everything and the extra weight pulling my pants and harness down arround my effin ankles :-[  No longer worried about broken picks w/ the Quarks so the only real reason for the 3rd tool was in case of a dropped tool.  I made teathers for the quarks last season and presto. No more 3rd tool anchor hanging off my butt 8) I feel liberated :P

DLottmann

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2013, 09:33:55 PM »
Cool story bro ;)

Knock on wood, in 12 years of ice I have never broken a pick, but I have always been on Quarks, so I guess that may be why huh?

As for tethers though... and I know weíve beat this debate here before... but I think they are silly for New England routes... maybe they are OK for soloing long climbs... I did somehow let a tool fall down Shoestring once, but for leading I think tethers are crap. You shouldnít be dropping tools leading, but in the off chance you do you should be able to fire in a screw and lower or whatever... but you really shouldnít be dropping tools leading....

I also think tethers belong on BIG solo routes where dropping a tool could spell RUIN

But so many beginner ice leaders tangle themselves in tethers, or let them give them a false sense of security...

I think of them like I think of leashes... un-needed umbilical cords....

Online tradmanclimbz

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2013, 09:49:16 PM »
If teathers  are useless in the east how come so many people lose nomics in the powder every time we have a good snow year?  I like em for any solo. Drop a tool from 10ft  off the deck steep bouldering a road cut and your looking at a possible open tib fib. i seem to have the tangles sorted out this season with a few eptions :-[   

DLottmann

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2013, 07:11:06 PM »
Who are these people losing Nomics at roadside cuts and how long have they been climbing?

In 13 years of ice climbing I havenít dropped a tool. Every tool I have seen dropped had a leash on it and it was a second climber cleaning a screw, or, most recently, very beginner climbers on top-rope somehow dropping tools at the North End when falling... it was... comical and concerning...

I wonít say they are ďuselessĒ, but I think many new climbers would be better served learning how not to drop tools then trying to learn how to use tethers and not get tangled...

I also look at world class ice climbers when deciding whatís most efficient, and outside of occasional soloing of big alpine routes I donít see any of the masters using tethers... and many solo big stuff with out them...

New climbers are drawn to leashes & tethers regardless of how it might effect performance... I know you have been climbing ice for a long time and I respect your opinion. Let me know at the end of the season and next year if you are still into them. Maybe iíll try them one day...


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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2013, 07:32:24 PM »
I could care less what world class ice climbers do. i do what works for me in 30+ years of climbing. heck we spent 15 panicked minites looking for a set of nomics about a month ago that dissapeared in the snow. you have not heard it much the last 2 years because there has been no snow but the 4 good snow winters before that there were multiple lost tools every winter. Friend of mine found a nomic @ the base of a serious  multi pitch 5+ a few winters ago..   way back in the day when you were still in diapers or perhaps a bit before that I had a teather on one tool and the idea was if things went south at least you were gaurenteed to have one tool. we tried it with both tools but it was too crazy  cluster with the leashes. when folks started useing them a few seasons ago i sounded off with a huge negative but I think I am a believer.. partner almost lost a tool from the belay today @ the lake.   

Online tradmanclimbz

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2013, 07:34:42 PM »
did I really pick up 2 negatives for this topic?    ???

DLottmann

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2013, 09:23:43 PM »
did I really pick up 2 negatives for this topic?    ???

Not from me. Like I said, I respect your opinion. Iíll check back with you in 2015 ;)

If you partner almost lost a tool from the belay Iíd say he didnít place them carefully off to the side?

Iíve taken 3+ clients up multi-pitch routes for the last 4 years without leashes or tethers and the only dropped tools, ironically, were only on top-ropes at the N. End... but to be fair I usually ask them for their tools at the belay so I can set them off to the side as they are sometimes a bit pre-occupied with their first ice climbs...

How did he almost lose a tool at a belay? I also use clippers to hold my tools when space is limited...

Offline ed_esmond

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2013, 09:45:07 PM »
did I really pick up 2 negatives for this topic?    ???

well err, three actually...  ;D (just because....)

last winter, "the other smith brother" and i went to kinsman notch in the dead of winter to check out the potential for some "real" rock climbing (nh winter, damp, cold, 15F, grey, blowing snow, and at the time,neither of us wanted to be inside in a gym) and hiking around seemed like a good alternative.  we'd heard there was some good rock there and it seemed like a great time to explore.

we didn't see much in the way of pure rock climbing potential (in all fairness, we may have missed the good spots...) but, we did see a lot of happy people ice climbing. 

we also found two (2) modern, expensive ice tools that had been lost in the snow along the trails to the various crags.  we put each of them up in crotches of trees, hoping the owner would find his/her axe... (to me, they're not "booty." i don't even like touching those things...)

i've done just enough ice climbing to realise that dropping a tool while on a climb would suck; however, i think losing one on the walk in would be "beyond suck."

ed e

ps. nickky, i kicked the "3rd tool habit" the same time i kicked the "hammer and axe habit..."  it didn't even take 12 steps, 2 or 3 at the most
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 09:48:09 PM by ed_esmond »
pragmatic: (adj) dealing with the problems that exist in a specific situation in a reasonable and logical way instead of depending on ideas and theories.

Online tradmanclimbz

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2013, 09:50:55 PM »
about70 years of commbined climbing experience between the two of us.. (that is a scary thought) It's sunny at the lake and even on days as cold as today, black metal melts out. his tool was tipped over and almost laying there ready to take a ride.  I have no problem  with anyone climbing however they like I just decided that the teathers allowed me to relax my grip and not worry about an iced up tool slipping out of my hand while cleaning it..   How much ice climbing have you done at or above your limit while guideing? it makes a difference. heck i have even heard of world class climbers dropping tools. It happens. I have done it 3 times in 30+ years. twice climbing at or near my limit. Once in a fall and the other time while fiddeling with  a piton on a mixed climb..  the third time a tree branch pulled the tool out of my gear loop while topping out. The BD prophit tomohawked through the air right @ Isa and stuck perfectly in a bulge 50ft above her :-\ yet annother bonus of the eathers is that I clip them to the pack when hikeing/decending. hopefully this will eliminate the dredded get back to the parking lot well after dark and a tool is missing. Heck@ my age it even helps keep me from leaveing them hanging in a tree @ the top of the climb :-[

DLottmann

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2013, 09:58:33 PM »
@ Ed, very noble! I would have had them for sale on eBay in no time (after posting in lost & found for a week here and NEIce).

If you lose your tools hiking in you need to learn how those ice axe loop things are supposed to work... Sorry if I sound harsh but I saw 6 pairs of gaiters today on the wrong feet, and crampons swinging to & fro below backpacks on the Tux trail...

Basics people basics!

@ Tradmanclimbz, again, if it works for ya then great. I lost a tool from the top of Shoestring that I think melted out of itís placement and rode the whole gully... and on I placed in The Flume and heavy snow/deep snow obscured while belaying at the top I just space it... two expensive mistakes....

But neither were while actively leading... and that is where I think tethers would bother me... but to each their own...

On descending I almost always put one back on the pack correctly (impossible to lose), and keep one in my hand for self-belay or self-arrest all the way back to the car... should be no chance of losing one...

Online tradmanclimbz

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2013, 06:22:03 AM »
Heck even Alfonzo lost a tool a few years back. perhaps you want to call him a noob and lecture him on how to keep track of stuff. i think perhaps you have been guideing too much and not climbing enough ::)

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2013, 06:35:38 AM »
FWIW I wouldn't start a noob with teathers and i do not start them with leashes either.

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2013, 07:20:14 AM »
Well to each his/her own... I've been climbing leashless for well over 10 years now on vertical and alpine ice & snow, guiding as well as recreational climbing, and I've never dropped a tool! knock wood I suppose.

the closest thing to that was when I was on P1 on Way In The Wilderness probably 13 years ago. I placed my left tool and took off my leash to clip a pin when the entire column I was standing on disintegrated! I took a 15' or so ride and my left tool was still there in the semi-solid ice near the pin. I believe that if I'd had a teather on it, it would have ripped out and come down in my face! I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have held me. fortunately my 22cm screw and screamer held me, I managed to get back to the screw with 1 tool and tie off. then I pulled up one of my partner's tools and managed to get back to the other tool.

fortunately I've never actually broken a pick. one time I did break one of the two nuts securing the pick on my old Petzl Pulsar. the pick was flopping around and I had to finish the pitch stabbing the ice with the point on the bottom! we named the climb Broke Pick. It's that pillar on the left side of Unicorn.
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Offline pappy

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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2013, 09:29:04 AM »
I fairly often look at my Hummingbird and think I should start carrying a third tool again, but I really only used it BITD for placing gear on steep ice, back when we were using Snargs and those old Chouinard screws and had to use a tool to get gear, so there's no real driver now. Though I did snap a pick near the top of P1 of Who's Who a few years ago when it might have been nice to have, but I was past the ludicrously thin baked stuff at that point. The only time I've ever dropped a tool was way back, on Franky Lee at Rumney in '85. It was early March, so the ice was crap and doing its best snow cone thing. Put one of those real stubby old Chouinards in about 20' up, said to myself 'that f#$ker won't hold sh!t', figured I'd stop at a little break about 15' higher to get a real screw in, was just about there and dropped my axe (an actual ice axe: Simond Cechinnel, straight shaft, classic curve integral pick, real adze. Forget it, none of you will know what I'm talking about). Obviously, it was hanging on a leash, and when I squatted down to pop it up and grab it the hammer ripped and I went over backwards. And the screw held. I wound up hanging upside down with my head about 3' off the ground, and since Wes was belaying up on the side of the gully I was actually looking up at him. He looked a little fried. I said 'Conditions suck, let's go home'. Still my 'best' fall on ice ever. But a perverse thought...if I had been leashless, and had a third tool (I was in grad school and too poor to afford three such extravagances then), would the fall have happened?
But as for dropping leashless tools, I was belaying my second up the direct pillar on Ragnarock a few weeks ago when the rope went tight and stayed tight. Of course it's the Notch, it's cold as hell and the wind is howling and it's impossible to hear shit, and no rope signals on a taut rope. After about five minutes I began to have visions of Simon Yates, but finally worked out that he must have dropped one of his tools, which, since they will pry my leashes from my cold dead wrists, is not the first thing that occurs to me. Even then, there is a natural resistance (or probably should be) to the idea of just letting rope out when you're belaying someone and the only information you have is deduction. We all would have been much happier if he had had a third tool. Afterwards he allowed as how he was going to wear leashes now when doing a climb like that. BTW, we did the tether thing 30 years ago. It sucked then, too.
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Re: how I kicked the third tool habbit..
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2013, 07:50:50 AM »