Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bits and pieces

Bits and pieces

An interview I did with Gregor over at Some Good Adventure, ranting and raving. Which I seem to be specializing in lately after doing a half-dozen shows from Tofino to London, England in the last four weeks--I'm finally back home and de-spinning from the travel, no place like home! Unlimited good coffee, good food, as much as I love traveling, meeting new people and generally going for it on tour it's always a pleasure to get back home to the Canadian Rockies and my family.

And this is funny, not exactly correct but never absolute correctness get in the way of good writing! Overall I'd agree with the ideas.

Ice Tips for the week:

I taught a few clinics while down at the Bozeman Ice Festival. The Bozeman Festival is one of the longer running, well-attended and all-around fun ice festivals going. Joe Joesephson ran it, did a great job, I'll definitely head back there! But, as always, I learned a few things about teaching ice climbing by teaching it.

Swing your tools, swing your feet. I've always taught a kick done with your toes high so the frontpoints contact the ice, not the toe of your boot. We all learn to kick a ball with our toes low, and as that's the only point of reference that's how people tend to kick on ice. But you swing a tool, and in reality a kick should be done with momentum and is more of a "swing." Bring your foot back, bending at the knee and not at the hip, and swing it toward the ice with your toes high. Swing HARD, most people peck with both their tools and their feet. Ideally there is a ledge to put your foot on, but if there isn't then you need to basically make one for your points. That's not possible without some meaningful violence. Do not be shy.

Unweight the foot you want to move first. I see a lot of people "hopping" their feet on ice. In rock climbing this can sometimes work OK even if it's awkward, but it just won't work on ice as have to kick your crampon points or at least place them extremely precisely in order to get good security. So, move your hips over to unweight the foot, then move it, repeat. Same motion of feet over to the side and then up with the upper arm straight, not a big step up.

Pretty much all steepish climbing is basically versions of the same move: Have a hold in your hand or hands, position your feet to push/pull, and push/pull up with your feet using as little arm strength as required. If you watch someone good drytooling, rock climbing or ice climbing that's what they do... Check this out, and watch from 2:22 to 2:32. He might as well have been ice climbing: hold, feet up, push, grab, straight arm, repeat... Rock climbing has more limited holds and is a lot steep than ice climbing so the movements are different, but I think anyone can see the common ground in the movement pattern. Sharma is one strong mofo, but check out how much time he spends on a straight arm as he sets his feet. The holds in rock climbing don't always allow this obviously, but the trend is clear, cool to watch! The more I climb the more I realize it's all the same stuff under the hood.

Oh, and I almost forgot: Homage to the masters of the pose. In my show I talked about climbing being what I love, and the posing being the work. Blue Steel!


Wyatt said...

As a new ice climber, I love all the tips you give. Keep them coming! I need all the help I can get.
Are you going to be at the Festival in Cody this winter?

Jesse said...

Between last winter's tips and this year's, you are on a role. I have become much more comfortable and move more quickly and most of all, have way more fun. Thanks for taking the time to share what you've learned!

I have a question about swings. I've been using a pair of cobras the last two years and love them. I feel good with my swing and can usually get a good stick within 1-3 swings, even in harder ice. I recently got a pair of the new Fusions and have been having trouble getting them to stick. The pick bounces off constantly and I'm not sure why. It also takes more swings and energy to get something I feel confident in. Its set up with the laser pick. Do you have any tips for these newer tools?

Will Gadd said...

Thanks for the kind words, more tips for sure, fun to write.

No Cody for me this winter unfortunately, hope to hit it next year, great place and people!

Jesse, the new Fusions come with mixed picks, which are difficult at best as pure ice picks. Switch 'em out for Laser picks, much better for sure! Let me know if that doesn't solve the problem, more suggestions if not, thanks!


Jesse said...

Thanks for the reply Will. I've got the laser ice pick on the tools already and have been having the trouble while using them. sounds like I'd be making lots of ice cubes if I tried the mixed picks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kicking advice! -Jane