A tap for luck

10 February 2011

A tap for luck

Category: Winter Climbing tips

Note: Many of these articles are very old, and although the technical information is still relevant the equipment mentioned may not be (for example a Stormy cooker was state of that art in 1995, but not in 2019).

So we’ve covered testing a tool in tip one, but how about a step beyond just testing?  Again, imagine you’ve got to make a move off a stance, perhaps a very big move, and you only have one pick hooked into a patch of dirt, or in a patch of soft neve.  Maybe your last runners a long way below you and you can’t afford to fall.

What do you do?

One very handy technique - and one I’m not sure if it’s sporting - but then neither are two broken legs - is to give your good axe a little hammer with your other tool, knocking it in that extra bit, and giving you the confidence it won’t rip.

I’ve used this on a lot of climbs, and works really well for out of sight placements (remember using this on the crux of Mitre ridge a long time ago; just placed my axe, give a few taps, and pulled up).
Of course the trick is NOT to hammered it to buggery, as you will make that move, only to come short as you find your axe is welded to the spot.  Be careful using this technique in cracks; the type of placement where you see hooks fixed.

 

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Andy Kirkpatrick
Andy Kirkpatrick

Andrew Kirkpatrick is a British mountaineer, author, motivational speaker and monologist. He is best known as a big wall climber, having scaled Yosemite's El Capitan 30+ times, including five solo ascents, and two one day ascents, as well as climbing in Patagonia, Africa, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps.

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