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The cold world of alpine climbing.

The cold world of alpine climbing.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What's for Dinner?

Ya, no, not what you are thinking.

Dinner as in "dinner plates", the kind you get on hard, cold ice and can reap some havoc even if you are careful.

Most of us have been cut at one time or another. Some have had stitches or just as likely should have had stitches and didn't. I've been knocked out cold, by a dinner plate while leading...imagine that!?




So we wear helmets. But in addition to the helmet there is something else I used to make fun of now I doubt I'll ever climb ice again without one. It is the visor. Couple of companies offering them in different versions. Easiest one for me to get my hands on was a Petzel.

Last year I popped a small piece of ice directly into my eye on a hard lead. Big enough piece and high enough velocity it bruised my eye ball just off the lens. Scared me a bit honestly, since my eye sight is much of how I make a living. That and the fact it hurt bad enough I couldn't open my eye, let alone see out of it, for several minutes. That while hanging on tools in the midst of a serious lead for me. A sore eye ball for several more days after that trip kept up the reminder. So I found a visor this summer and added it to my Canadian ice gear list. Still not convinced it was worth the effort on local ice. Then on the last trip the visor deflected a fist size piece of ice bound for my chin that I never saw coming. Decided by now that the visor is a good thing on any ice. Bit hard to pack around but easier than expected so far. It is a gimmick...and I hate gimmicks but this one really does work and worth the silly price tag imo.




A new one on me was having a dinner plate smack me in the foot this trip and dang near break a toe. Never would have imagined! The purple toe nail pictured below is a week old now. I will obviously lose the nail in time. Didn't hurt terribly bad at the time although I did notice the smack while leading on a pillar of hard ice. But...WOWIE..was it sore the next few days afterwards.






Not that big a piece of ice either. I would have thought my boots would have protected me more. No mark on the boot but with some inspection of the boot toe it is easy to see a big piece of ice could collapse the boot enough and damage your foot. You have to be careful out there :)




Just helps to be aware of what could happen in lwt boots. If this incident (my first in 30+ years of waterfall ice) is any indication a broken foot is not out of the question with a well planted crampon and a big piece of ice.

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