AR: What tools did you end up taking? Any new gear to test out?
LH: We used Cassin X Dream and Petzl Nomic ice tools, and Black Diamond Cyborg crampons. We also used Black Diamond Express ice screws. With crank knobs that provide uninterrupted 360 Degree motion, it’s easily the fastest ice screw for me to place.
SL: We also tested out the Madrock Angler quickdraw, which has a small shelf on the rope end biner that makes it less likely to unclip the rope. It’s a cool piece of gear, but it is trying to fill a gap that should be filled with PROPER Technique.
AR: How did you guys manage to stay warm and dry?
SL: I used the Alpha Direct Jacket from Rab. The Alpha Direct uses unlined Polartec Alpha insulation that breathes really well. It insulates when wet and dries quicker than anything else I have ever used. As a side note, I have switched most of my insulating layers to Alpha. It is coupled with a Pertex Microlight face fabric that repels all but the heaviest wet snow. It is not windproof but very close. The combination makes it perfect for multiple winter sports as an outer layer, or even a mid layer on those super cold days.
LH: As always, I depend on layers for warmth. I wore my Patagonia Capilene Thermal Weight Zip-Neck under a fleece pullover. If the temps drop while climbing, I throw on my Arc’teryx Atom LT jacket. If I am still cold, while belaying, I have my giant Rab Neutrino Endurance Jacket I can hide in.
AR: I know both of you have a passion for ice. How long have you guys been pursuing the sport? And, on a personal level, what does ice climbing mean to you?
SL: I have been climbing ice and mixed for about 5 years. Ice climbing, to me, is one of the best ways to refocus and center myself. It will strip all the day-to-day crap away and leave you with nothing but your instincts and emotions in a beautiful place. It leaves you to test yourself with nature to a level I have not found with anything else, except hard backcountry skiing.
LH: I’ve been climbing for 10 years. Ice climbing is my meditation. It’s hard to think about anything else besides how well the tool stick is, or if that screw will hold. It keeps you living only in the moment.
If you would like to hear more about Lawrence and Shane’s trip to Vail, or if you have any questions about climbing in general, come by the shop. We would love to chat it up.