Mixed Climbing. February 11, 2011Posted by littlebangtheory in climbing, Love and Death.
Tags: ice climbing, mixed climbing, schooling the young'uns
“Mixed climbing” refers to a style of climbing which melds rock and ice climbing. It employs the tools of the ice climbing world, applied to a rock medium ravaged by winter conditions – that is, rendered unclimbable by a layering of ice insufficient to allow actual ice climbing, yet sufficient to thwart the efforts of a pure rock climber.
I’m perversely drawn to, and evidently equipped for this type of climbing. Although it’s considered to be the realm of younger climbers with a newer world view, I find it much more appropriate for my strengths than either pure rock climbing, which demands brute strength and monumental endurance, or pure rock climbing, which requires monumental endurance and brute strength.
Mixed climbing, in contrast, requires only a slippery grip on what’s allowed and what’s not, on what works and what doesn’t, and a willingness to cast aside any preconceptions which may have followed you to the base of the climb.
Yeah, I got that.
So it pleased me a bunch to get up North this past weekend to the Mount Washington Valley Ice Festival for a day on the steeps.
I got to climb with a quartet of younger guys (and Frau B, not climbing this time ’round but rather working her Nikon) and I had a ball, my damaged shoulders notwithstanding.
We hiked out to a little cliff near Intervail and set up a couple of “top-ropes,” wherein one can climb without the risk of taking a long and likely damaging fall. I snapped a few shots of the action, including this one of our friend Chris pulling a difficult little rock overhang:
…and another guy high on a route to his left:
I’m embarrassed to not remember his name, but I don’t.
Hey, if you grew up in the 60’s you might not remember everything either:
I took my turn on the rope, then set up to get this shot of another Chris coming up behind me:
Anyway, the lads shifted one of our ropes to a severely overhanging corner, a big step up in difficulty and commitment. Here, Brian works the route to its top:
…getting up with a couple of falls (top-ropes allow one to fall, rest and continue working a route.) His was our proudest effort excepting mine; I got up it without falls, proving that I’m not dead yet!
Lizz may have gotten some shots of my efforts, but I don’t expect them to be pretty – there was nothing elegant about my core-crunching collision with this ugly gash.
At any rate, it felt good to crush this vertical challenge, and I won’t say it felt bad to smoke the young’uns along the way.
Especially since they were adamant about me having no business playing this Younger Man’s Game.