Tech Tips

Bad Decisions and the EDK

It is incredible that we are still referring to the Flat Overhand as the “EDK” let alone having Rock and Ice magazine tell people it is unsafe, should be thought of “like the 13th floor”, and not use it. Rock and Ice Article I just went to some continuing education at the American Mountain Guides Association’s annual conference where I sat in on a great talk by Silas Rossi on how as humans we just make bad decisions. This clinic was held at the Petzl institute about a half hour after some of the worlds most experienced guides tested the flat overhand for the millionth time. Now Silas,...

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One Hand Clove Hitch

The clove hitch is used in climbing for many different applications. It is handy for attaching oneself to an anchor because of the ease of adjusting it during its use. Tying it one handed can be of great benefit to secure yourself when you are hanging by one hand. Here is a tech video I made where Cody Bradford shows the one handed clove hitch.

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Ski strap skins (tech tip)

Ski straps have many uses. Today I found out a new one. As Lindsay, Buster and I got to the top of Red Mountain Pass and started getting our gear ready I heard some choice words coming from the back of the truck. Lindsay who was so psyched to use her brand new skis had just realized that she had forgotten her skins. It was a long ride back to Ouray and with out missing a beat Buster looked at me and asked how many ski straps I had. After digging around the truck we found six. We put the straps on the skis and were off to earn our turns. A few things we learned. Keep the straps under foot...

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Equivocation Hitch

The equivocation hitch, also known as the daisy of death, has been getting more mainstream use as of late in the guiding world. I went ahead and put together a tech tip for Fox Mountain Guides, and a few of us went out and "red-neck" tested it. The EQ hitch is useful in a few different situations; the main one being when the ends of the rope are not available. I find this happens when short-roping clients as well as cleaning a single pitch climb with a Gri-Gri counterbalance. The latter is usually less applicable since time is not much of an issue when working in single pitch terrain. It is also...

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Ice Climbing: “A Leader’s Game”

Ice climbing is one of the essential tools for alpine climbing. Moving efficiently across mixed and ice terrain is a must to be efficient in the mountains. Ice climbing as a sport itself has exploded over the past ten years. There are now “ice fests” all across the country, and many folks attend these, take clinics, and try out all the new exciting gear.   This year in New Hampshire, I helped run the first ever Advanced Ice course that Fox Mountain Guides has offered, with the main focus on leading ice. In this course we talk about the seriousness of the leads and how ice climbing...

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Packing A Back Pack

           

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iPhone as a GPS or a “Standalone” GPS?

After a few seasons in the mountains with my iPhone as my GPS, it was finally drawn to the real test. Full storm conditions on Mt. Rainier on a route I have never been on. There was never visibility farther than 20 meters and most of the time it was hard to see your hand in front of your face. The storm was wet so everything was riming and as we moved uphill we would start to sweat and the phone would condense with dripping water coming off it before it would start to freeze. I didn't take too many pictures as the situation was waning of its fun and started to be more serious. I will stay out of the technical...

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Added Friction for the GriGri

  Here is a belaying tech tip that I shot while in Thailand last month. I use this technique with smaller ropes to give more control without feathering the lever on the GriGri.     Improving GriGri Friction while lowering from karsten delap on Vimeo. Check out these other tech tips: Locking Quick Draw Carabiner Break Rappel Locking Munter Hitch   For more climbing instruction information visit: www.foxmountainguides.com

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Keeping Your Feet Healthy

I remember coming off an alpine day about four years ago and wondering if I would be able to keep climbing due to the pain in my feet. I went to a foot doctor and told him I was having problems but refrained from telling him my profession until he briefed me with the diagnosis. The treatment: wear loose shoes, nothing to tight and make sure to have flexible bottoms. I then told them the problem... "My job requires me to shove my size 43 feet into 40.5 shoes and then stand on small little edges or walk miles to some remote place in shoes that have a very stiff sole as to support the spikes that...

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The Locking Quick Draw

      After seeing several guides in the Tetons this summer using a locking quickdraw in various applications, I started testing it out for myself and have made a video showing its utility. I have found it to be not only extremely useful, but also a huge time-saver in several situations. For example, there are times when I prefer to extend the master point of my anchor to achieve some separation between the munter hitch I am belaying from and the clove hitch I am tied in with. Similarly, when I am doing a belayed rappel, I find it useful to have the rappel carabiner...

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Repairs…

If you spend a lot of time in the mountains (and traveling the country in your truck), you get really good at repairing things on the fly. McNett makes products that have become essential for carrying in the backcountry and have proven equally useful in the "front country." I was driving down a backcountry road in my truck the other day, and one of the batteries in my camper busted the hinge to the compartment door that they are stored in. I also have been needing to repair my LaSportiva Gandas as I have put close to 60 mountain days on these great shoes and want to extend their life before...

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Deuter Guide 35+ pack Review and Tips

The Deuter Guide 35+ pack has been a go-everywhere, hold-everything, take-anything-I put-it-through pack. Deuter has been making packs since the 1800's, and they are built German tough with nothing held back. I have used this pack for everything from guiding winter Sierra summits to putting up first ascents in Armenia to cragging in the Red River Gorge and just got off the Cathedral Traverse in the Tetons with it yesterday. Over 400 days of mountain use later, not a single thing has broken on this pack! The only thing that even had wear was a pull string for the lid, and all that happened there...

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Training for Steep Climbing

It is hard to stay in shape for climbing in places like the Red River Gorge, New River Gorge, and Rifle, CO, all of which present steep climbing that most of us don't get to do 4 to 5 days a week, especially when it is hot and humid outside. I have been doing this workout 2 to 3 times per week for my upcoming climbing stint in the Red River Gorge. In the Climbing Gym-- Warm up: I do this with an auto-belay and usually on very easy, juggy routes. I climb up as well as down-climb and usually spend about 20 min. 4 x 4s: You can do these on boulder problems or routes. I have found boulder...

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Sizing for Climbing Shoes

"What size climbing shoes should I get?" "How should my climbing shoes fit?" "How do you size your approach shoes?" These are common questions about the sizing and fit of climbing shoes that I hear all the time. I put together a video answering some of these questions. Remember, climbing is supposed to be fun; pain isn't fun. Buy shoes that fit and feel good, and you WILL climb harder!  

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The Best Camera to Carry

Shooting photography has become a passion of mine over the last few years. I have lots of equipment that cost too much money, yet which camera do I always have on me and find myself constantly relying on? My iPhone! So I have delved more and more into shooting and editing with the iPhone. I use various applications to edit, but I still just use the built-in camera for shooting in all cases but one, which I will talk about later. I've learned a couple of useful techniques for shooting photos with an iPhone. First,  the "shutter" takes when you release your finger from the screen, as opposed...

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Carabiner Brake Rappel (Tech Tip)

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Locking Munter Hitch (Guide’s Tip)

Here is a guide's tip on the locking Munter hitch:

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Lowering with a Black Diamond ATC-Guide (plaquette)

Here is a Guide's Tip that has been helpful to many folks and shows a proper redirect for an ATC when lowering from above:          

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Why Wool Works

I am not sure when we deviated from using wool in the outdoors. Many of the ancient mountaineering pictures we see have old, hard men wearing their wool sweaters and knickers. So why are we all wearing synthetics? Maybe to keep away the crowds from the horrible body odor emitting from our capilene'd pores. Or maybe it is just marketing... I have been using wool for the last few years in the mountains and now try to wear nothing other than this amazing natural material. Some folks think they are allergic to wool, disapproving of it's 'itchy' quality, like grandpa's old sweater. In reality,...

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Preparing for Ice

If you live in the Southeast, you know must be in shape when the ice is, because it isn't around for long.  I prepared this video for a "Guides Tip" for FMG but figured I would share it here as well.

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