Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Crash course in Plumbing and Rude Awakenings

So there I am, drinking the last of the pot of coffee and thinking that I really should make another half pot. It's one of those slow start mornings. Thinking it would be a good idea to curb the lethargic mood, I decide to get the morning routine done and over with first... brush hair, brush teeth, deodorant, trim beard, etc.

Anyone who's met me knows I have the whole redneck meets hippie long hair going on, the usual cursing at knots ensues. Onto the teeth. Now, this is about the point things changed from dull to a little too exciting.

Today's lesson in how to wake up faster than you ever thought possible is brought to you via a crash course in plumbing...

How to tell the bathroom faucet needs more repair than originally thought:

Step 1 - Turn on tap to brush teeth.
Step 2 - Watch in shock as tap handle and valve fly upwards at amazing rate of speed followed by high pressure jet of water.
Step 3 - Have short momentary, but intense, heart attack due to shock of what just happened.
Step 4 - Utter long string of explicit language as you run for the main water shut off valve in the basement... Over the dogs, down the stairs, hurdling random boxes and climbing gear, with a mad lunging dive over the bikes.

Apparently that little nut that holds the whole thing together can come loose over time.

The kicker is I still need that second 1/2 pot of coffee... which I can't make yet. "Why not?" you ask? Because I am still trying to find one seal, and one small spring before I can put the works back together.
So, after an hour and a half of clean up my question is this: Is 10:30 too early to crack a beer before going to Rona/HomeDepot? 'Cause that's the only beverage that fits the bill right now without running water.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Beer... It's KNOT just an apres climb beverage!

Beer... That beverage that most of us can agree puts the final touch to a good day of climbing, well it's not just for apres climb... or should I say "Knot" just for after the climb.

What is it that I'm make referencing to? The Beer knot of course!
The Beer knot is a bend used to tie a loop in tubular webbing to form a sling. It has a similar structure to the Water knot. Compared to the Water knot it boasts a higher strength (up to 80%, compared to 60-70% for the Water knot), a cleaner appearance due to not having loose tails, and a smaller profile. The only downside of the Beer knot over the Water knot is the amount of time/effort required to tie.
With that said the Beer knot is a great addition to the water knot in your book of tricks, and is of great value to those who find themselves on the "hand tied sling budget". For "consumable slings" (ie. hand tied slings you carry for bailing/rap anchors/...) the water knot is still the preferred choice of knot due to ease of use.

Now... about that Beer... knot.

Instructions and illustration:

-Select a length of 1" tubular webbing suitable for the length of sling which you are about to tie.
Tip: This length is approximately equal to twice the length of the sling you wish to create, PLUS about 12"-14".

1-Tie a loose overhand knot in the middle of the length of webbing.
2-Open one end of the webbing, and burn the end so that it doesn't fray.
3-Fold the other end in half and start feeding it into the open end. Take the time to ensure the webbing doesn't have any twists in it before you proceed. To have the required length of tails on the knot make sure the end is inserted 12" to 14".
4-Flatten the Webbing inside as much as possible/practical.
Now, this is where that overhand knot you tied in step one comes into play... you did do step one, right...
5-Slide the overhand knot around so that it is centered with equal length tails on the overlapped webbing. You will be able to see one end/tail and will be able to feel the other. Approximately 3-5" of tail should be used on both ends. Once you have the knot centered, tighten the knot sufficiently. I like to stand with one foot in the loop and pull to set the knot good.

Figure 1 (Shamelessly poached from another website):

Figure 2 (also shamelessly poached from another website):


After a definitive absence of updates... a true hiatus! This-Vertical-World is back.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The long weekend... late on the update.

OK. Weekend of Remembrance Day.

Saturday saw Richard and I at King Creek again for some equipment tuning and Luger training. My crampons are about as good as I can get them, and so far they are now working great with my new boots. Still have a little getting use to, but great otherwise. The ice was somewhat thinner than a week previous, but still good. As for the Luger training…. Well he’s coming along. Less barking than before, and he seems to do a little better when we are a little further away….. Better-ish.

Sunday was a trip to the Ghost with Richard and Ron (aka. the eater of the lunchables and drinker of the Red Bull). After talking to a couple at the bottom of Big Hill who had been up the Joker we decided to head for THOS. GBU looked thin, but there was tones of ice to the right of it. THOS was definitely in “early season” conditions. Thin and wet with thin ice on the pools. After tying Luger at the base of the first step we were off and running at a snails pace. Most of the steps had near non-existent top outs, but were easily managed. After numerous steps of ice and deep pools with thin ice, I managed to send a 15 to 20 lbs piece right onto Richard’s hand… oops. With a now useless pinky Richard pressed on. Shortly after this I fall through the ice covering a bottomless pit of man-eating liquid. I managed to catch myself on the rock and a log by the time I was waist deep. Much Pirate language ensued. Then I hear it. Crack whoosh! Richard has found his own pool. So, back to the dog it is. We warn two other parties of three of the man-eating liquid and start to rap down, Richard and I hoping the whole time to see Ron find his own hole in the ice! On the very last pool Ron had a chance of falling into it happens! Ha ha! Crossing the pools turned out to be the crux of the day. As we are about to start the second last rap what do we see…. Luger! Hold the PHONE! He should be….. what! The now untied Luger is a step of near vertical ice above where we left him. Oh well, he’s unhurt and happy to see us so it can’t be bad, right!? Richard did have some fun being lowered with a wriggling 100lbs Luger. Eheheh. Lesson learned: Use a locking biner when tying Luger up!

Monday! Yes Monday! I had a day off. Monday sees the trip into the Ghost again, this time with Danylo. Phantom Falls WI 4 R, a climb that doesn’t form every year, turns out to be the objective. Great fun on the drive in with the Jeep. Gearing up for the approach saw the usual conversations you have with a new climbing partner… which climbs you had fun on… where you epic’ed… who you epic’ed with… the usual ;-)
Then Danylo starts to explain: I started have a bunch of epics with this one partner and then I started thinking about it and I realized I was just having a lot of epics in general…. You know the common denominator was ‘me’ every time…
I laugh at him, he laughs at himself, it’s a good time. So off we go. The hike in isn’t bad at all. When we finally get to the climb we both look at the top and think “Wow, that’s thin/narrow”. But we look at it some more. It really is an aesthetic line! More looking. Look from this angle. Look from that angle. You know it doesn’t look so bad… Well I’m the one to fess up and tell Danylo that I think it’s a little beyond my headspace this early in the season. Happy to hear that he wants to give to bottom half a shot we flake the ropes and get geared up. Off he goes. Now keep in mind that he had just explained he has this habit of epicing. So he starts up, places a screw, up more, more screws. Just as he’s approaching the start of the narrow section he looks down and says he’s going to set up a belay and bring me up. He’s not to sure about the narrow section apparently. Well some words of encouragement from me and a few minutes to collect himself and he decides to have a go at it. A little higher and he places another crew then something comes down. Ting ting ting ping…. Ring…. OK, now I know what ice sounds like and that was definitely metal!
“Eh! Danylo! Something metal just fell.”
“Yeah, something metal fell!”
“Just a sec… The bail on my crampon… there’s only half left”Ok, so down he comes. Not only did the bail break, but the frame of the crampon itself is cracked as well. Well I might as well head up. Off I go. After getting to the high-point I decide that the crux will be to much leashless. But wait! My leashes at in my pack! Shit! Oh well back down for me. Place the first Allbeebackenoff of the season. Danylo still wants to have a go at it so he borrows one of my crampons for the second attempt. Success, a slow slow success, but Success nonetheless! Then it’s my turn… just as it starts snowing then blizarding. Oh well, full Scottish conditions it is then! Arrrg! Great climb, but real narrow at the top! Another not done by me route ticked off! Woot woot!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Quote of the Week.

"The ratio of assholes to easygoing people seems to be a direct function of proximity to a parking lot."
-some guy named Tim

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

AVALANCHE! A couple quick thoughts.

Checking the Avalanche Sites is how your day should start. Grab a coffee/tea/hot chocolate, have a read and keep track of the changes. Just remember, looking at the colourfull bit at the top is NOT enough. Read the whole report. If you haven't already taken an avalanche safety course then take one. If it's been a LONG TIME since you have taken the course, take it again. Don't be afraid to take a beacon, and don't be afraid to turn back. And Take An Avalanche Course, reading the books is good, but take the course and learn more it might save your life. Remember, just because there is recent debris does not mean that it is safe. Last season I saw 8 major avalanches accross the lake from Louise Falls within 3 hours! It was the some 3 chutes that ran every time. The first one might have been a class 2, but the rest were class three, and each one was bigger than the last. The powder blast and wind reached us half way up the other side of the valley. Always always always make sure you're checking the snow as you hike in, and pay attention to the changes in snow, weather, temperature, and amount of sun throughout the day. The Avalanche forcast on Sunday was Low in Alpine; Low at Treeline; Low Below Treeline yet an avalanche on Sunday happened, and a climber died. Remember, LOW does not mean NO danger! Conditions change WAY FASTER THAN YOU WOULD THINK. Be safe out there. Don't leave your parnters and family without you just to tag that little bit of ice that will be there later. Climb Safe people.

Sad news ;( Tony Devonshire dead after Avalanche

We just had the first Ice climbing fatality on the 2006/2007 season in Alberta. Tony Devonshire was caught in an avalanche near the Fortress ski hill. http://www.live-the-vision/cms has a thread with some details there is also a thread in the injury and accident forum: http://www.rockclimbing.com/topic/122172 Tony was well known in the local seen and will be missed greatly.
I didn't know Tony well... recognize him out at a climb and have a chat type of thing. Especially during the early season, the ice climbing community really is a small community. A loss like this really does hit everyone.
The Avalanche forecast for the area was rated Low across the board, but with a chinook and some light precip things change so fast up there. I was going to get a beacon a few years ago after we were caught, but I haven't yet. Having only one in a party is useless right. Well I climb with some people who do have them, some why not bring them on a climb? Not every climb, but ones that have terrain above them. I've already sett aside some cash and will be getting one as soon as I get my next paycheck. I've already come too close to loosing a partner before, it's not having one worth it? Is having one worth it? You make your own decision. They aren't needed on every climb, but would be nice to have on some climbs. Really they weigh next to nothing, and if like me it has been years since you did the avi course... It might not be a bad idea to take it again. It really is easy to develop bad habits. This tragic accident is a reminder that no matter how LOW the rating is LOW does not mean NO chance of an avalanche. Climb safe out there people, never get complacent and always listen to your gut when you get that sense that "you not feeling it".

Tony was a very experience and safe climber, so is Kevin. It seems somehow not right to be saying Tony was...

Tony you will be greatly missed by the climbing community and all of your other many friends and family. May your next life be full innumerable pitches of the bluest plastic ice that we all search for.

Kevin, should you read this, remember that when your ready if you ever need someone to talk to you can get a hold of me via email the_climber at hotmail dot com, hang in the bro.

Ice Ice Ice The season is off to a stellar start!

Well last weekend went great as far as climbing goes. Climbers with Grant, Anna, and Danylo (Richard was sick). Saturday was spend up at R+D again, but with really different and REALLY wet conditions. I played around with the adjutants on my crampon and the climb great now! Add to this that my forearms are starting to remember this holding onto the ice tools thing, and the season is off to a stellar fuckin' start! R+D was so wet that I was wishing I had my paddling jacket and not my bulky old goretex that really isn't as 'waterproof' as it used to be, and seems to have a few "vent" that it didn't originally have.

Sunday. Sunday was a different day. We started be hiking up the ridge at Fortress ski hill to take a look at Martial Arts and Moonshadow Gully. The snow on the 'good slope', the one we hiked up wasn't too bad, but I still found two weaknesses. One about 4 inches down with moderate results and one at the ground interface with the same results. When we topped out I saw some sloughing off the cliffs above the bowl we would have to cross to get to the climbs, and got the "I'm not feeling it" spidey sense tingles. I observed for a while and could I identify more warning signs on the cliffs and in the bowl. I raised me concerns and said I would be willing to check the snow at the edge of the bowl, but wasn't prepared to or comfortable with crossing the slope. We decided to turn around and go to King's Creek. A good decision as it turned out. It was a good training hike anyways and I enjoyed the exercise. King creek was great, even the Scottish gully was in great thin-ish conditions. I had talked up the gully to Grant and when he came around to corner and I told him it was it... Well he was so happy I didn't want to take the lead from him. I did want the lead though :) A few quick runs up the seeps and we were off.

A mass spaghetti dinner at home for everyone thanks to Laurie was our end of climb reward.

The only downside to the day was finding out that evening that there had been an incident near Fortress that day involving two ice climbers. More on this in the next post.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Aarrrrgg! There be climbable ice out there!

Well the exploits of the weekend were grand. Richard and I drove out to the mountains after work on Friday and camped out in K-Country for an early start on R+D to avoid the crowds. The winds were crazy over night, but calmed down by the morning. With an early start we were off and running, well hiking, but Luger was running :o) . I was less then confident in my crampon with my new boots (see below), and after starting up the climb I full in wasn't feeling 'it'. Sometimes you have to go with your gut feelings, which was the right thing to do in this case as my feet were shearing all over the place when I seconded the climb. After I down climbed I handed the rack over to Richard and watched him do the best climbing I have ever seen him do. Definitely a stellar fuckin' day!

Gear notes:
My new boots are starting to feel great, but I am not used to how my crampons fit them and when I started off on the lead I was less than confident in my foot placements. The fit of my Grivel G14's on my LaSportiva Nepal Evo's leaves the front point shorter and the secondary points too far back for my liking. To have the secondary point contact the ice I have to drop my heal too far for comfort. I also found that my feet were shearing far to easily; likely a result of less penetration in the ice. I will try going back to duo-point and see if I can get used to the crampon/boot match, then switch back to mono's. If that doesn't work I'll be back in the Crampon buying market.

On a good note, the new Cloudvail soft shell pants I just bought were great. And some of the best performing climbing pants I have ever used. It only took me 3 years of trying to find a pair of soft shell pant that fit, but now I can stop looking and climb more.

DMM has screamers!!!!! I had never seen them before, and when I saw them at Vertical Addiction in Canmore I picked up a couple to try. They seem great and are lighter than other screamers I have tried. I still like the Yates screamers, but DMM gear has always been good to me. So, why not try them.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Check your gear please! If not for yourself do it for your partners!

It is tragic that Todd Skinner died. It is even more tragic that the cause was failure of his belay loop while raping. To discuss weather or not a backup would have prevented this or not I leave up to you, but Todd had a reputation as being a safe climber. Answers to many of the questions people have will never be known. They have gone with Todd. I think that any climber would want others to learn from their mistakes, so lets take what we can out of this tragedy and reevaluate our gear and our climbing practices.
I've checked my gear, and will be phasing some of it out very soon. Please check your gear too.

This is a link to some information on Todd accident: