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Winter Protection

By Dave Evans

For most of us in winter climbing runners and good belays shouldn't just be a luxury! A lot gets said about Ice screws and Abalakovs but what about making our conventional rock gear better.

Tip One

Winter Protection

Most committed winter climbers have a winter rack i.e. nuts and hexes they don.t mind hammering in a bit to help it bite in snowy and verglassed cracks. Nuts etc. are often used in preference to cams as these may often slip out when loaded or prize off flakes only frozen in place.

Tip Two

Long extenders offer less drag on those wandering pitches and will stop your valuable protection being pulled out. To be honest if you come off you won.t notice the difference between a Mamba and a 4 ft sling!

Tip Three

If you get a sling on a shallow spike, put a long draw on it and cement it down with snow. There will be more chance of it staying on.

Tip Four

Remember the principles of backing up so so belays...incorporate a bucket seat or get well braced. Bury your axes in an appropriate way to reinforce the anchors, or get them in the ice or turf. Protect the belay with an early runner and use an appropriate dynamic method of belaying to reduce impact force in case of a fall.

Tip Five

Winter Protection

Get used to working with your gloves on at all times, and be as efficient as you can. Oh, and don`t climb underneath others on ice routes! No helmet`s big enough!!


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