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The Other Face of K2

Source: . Credit: http://banskofilmfest.com,  Licensed under: Public Domain.
Source: Bansko Filmfest. Credit: http://banskofilmfest.com, Licensed under: Public Domain.

While The Summit or K2: Siren of the Himalayas probably are far better known and get a bigger audience, The Other Face of K2 might actually be the most interesting film. It follows a Catalan attempt on Magic LineK28611mSouth sideRus 6B; IV-V, 60°3500m. Jordi Corominas reached the highly coveted second ascent of the route.

"Magic Line" follows the SW ridge and is one of the most mythical routes of the climbing world. The name was given by Reinhold Messner who was planning to attempt it in 1979, but discarded the route. It was climbed in 1986 by a Polish team of Peter Bozek, Przemyslaw Piasecki & Wojiech Wroz in 1986. The climb is comparable in reputation to other legends like Shark's FinMeru Central6310mNorth East Pillar6a,A4, WI5,M61400m or yet to be climbed North ridgeLatok I7151mNorth face or NE faceMasherbrum7821mNorth side. There has been only two summits (until 2015), neither without fatalities.

Corominas may not be as famous as some, but he has been nominated for Piolet d'Or (at least) twice and his palmares is extremely impressive:

Siren of the Himalayas

Source: . Credit: http://K2siren.com,  Licensed under: Public Domain.
Source: Official movie page. Credit: http://K2siren.com, Licensed under: Public Domain.

Despite The Summit about 2008 K2 disaster likely gathers far more viewers, K2: Siren of the Himalayas might be more interesting to climbers. It centers around 2009 campaign to climb K2 with Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Fabrizio Zangrilli, Jake Meyer and Chris Szymiec at the main focus. The attempt was done on Cesen RouteK28611mSouth sideIII-IV, 75°.

Compared to siege-style 2008 campaign, 2009 campaign was significantly smaller in scale is regards to number of climbers as well as lighter in style with neither high-altitude sherpas nor bottled oxygen. The film has won several prizes and most of the reviews are very positive.

Water repellent ropes

Source: . Credit: UIAA,  Licensed under: Public Domain.
Source: UIAA. Credit: UIAA, Licensed under: Public Domain.

For years manufacturers have marketed dry-treated ropes. However, everyone and their brother knows that not all dry-treatments have been equally effective. Yet personal experience aside, there has been no way of knowing how effective various treatments are. That ends now, as UIAA has introduced new water repellent certification.

The test seems to mimick real life surprisingly well. A rope sample is subjected to subject to light abrasion over its entire surface to simulate few days’ use. The rope is then soaked for 15 minutes following a precise procedure. To pass the test at a certified laboratory, the amount of absorbed water must not be greater than 5% of the rope’s weight. For comparison, a non-treated rope absorbs around 50% of water in this test, and many ropes labeled as "dry" can absorb between 20% and 40% of water. Ropes with surface treatment only cannot pass the says according to Beal.

So far only Beal, Edelweiss and Mammut offer certified ropes that I know of. The certification is very new though, so it is entirely possible that some other brands could have equally good treatments but their ropes are yet to be certified.

The Summit

Source: . Credit: http://www.impawards.com,  Licensed under: Public Domain.
Source: IMP Awards. Credit: http://www.impawards.com, Licensed under: Public Domain.

I recently discovered that a film about 2008 K2 disaster called The Summit had gone unnoticed by me. It's cast certainly isn't as impressive as that of upcoming Everest but being the movie-buff I am, I clearly have to watch this one too.

Tragic events of August 1st and 2nd 2008 on the Abruzzi RidgeK28611mSouth sideIII, 50° have also been covered in several books, at least The Time Has Come: Ger Mcdonnell - His Life & His Death on K2.O'brien, DamienCollins Pr2012Damien O'Brien is married to Ger McDonnell's sister, Denise. A keen sports fan, especially of GAA, Damien spent 3 years as chairman of his local GAA club. He was fascinated listening to Ger tell his stories and was delighted to write this book in his honour.97818488914329781848891432The Time Has ComeNon-fictionen, No Way Down: Life and Death on K2.Bowley, GrahamHarpercollins2011In the tradition of Into Thin Air and Touching the Void, No Way Down by New York Times reporter Graham Bowley is the harrowing account of the worst mountain climbing disaster on K2, second to Everest in height... but second to no peak in terms of danger. From tragic deaths to unbelievable stories of heroism and survival, No Way Down is an amazing feat of storytelling and adventure writing, and, in the words of explorer and author Sir Ranulph Fiennes, “the closest you can come to being on the summit of K2 on that fateful day.”On August 1, 2008, no fewer than eight international teams of mountain climbers—some experienced, others less prepared—ascended K2, the world's second-highest mountain, with the last group reaching the summit at 8 p.m. Then disaster struck. A huge ice chunk came loose above a deadly three-hundred-foot avalanche-prone gully, destroying the fixed guide ropes. More than a dozen climbers—many without oxygen and some with no headlamps—faced the nearly impossible task of descending in the blackness with no guideline and no protection. Over the course of the chaotic night, some would miraculously make it back. Others would not. In this riveting work of narrative nonfiction, journalist Graham Bowley re-creates one of the most dramatic tales of death and survival in mountaineering history.97800618347909780061834790No Way DownNon-fictionen, K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain, 1 Reprint Edition.Viesturs, EdBroadway Books2010Ed Viesturs, one of the world's premier high-altitude mountaineers, explores the remarkable history of K2 and of those who have attempted to conquer it. At the same time, he probes the mountain's most memorable sagas in order to illustrate lessons about the fundamental questions mountaineering raises—questions of risk, ambition, loyalty to one's teammates, self-sacrifice, and the price of glory. Viesturs knows the mountain firsthand. He and renowned alpinist Scott Fischer climbed it in 1992 and got caught in an avalanche that sent them sliding to almost certain death before Ed managed to get into a self-arrest position with his ice ax and stop both his fall and Scott's.Focusing on seven of the mountain's most dramatic campaigns, from his own troubled ascent to the 2008 tragedy, Viesturs crafts an edge-of-your-seat narrative that climbers and armchair travelers alike will find unforgettably compelling. With photographs from Viesturs's personal collection and from historical sources, this is the definitive account of the world's ultimate mountain, and of the lessons that can be gleaned from struggling toward its elusive summit.97807679326089780767932608K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous MountainNon-fictionen, One Mountain Thousand Summits: The Untold Story of Tragedy and True Heroism on K2, Paperback Edition.Wilkinson, FreddieNew American Library2011One Mountain Thousand Summits reveals the true story of the K2 tragedy that claimed the lives of eleven men. Based on his numerous trips to Nepal and in-depth interviews he conducted with the survivors, the families of the lost climbers, and the Sherpa guides whose heroic efforts saved the lives of at least four climbers, Freddie Wilkinson's narrative uncovers what actually occurred on the mountain, while delivering a criticism of the mainstream press's incomplete coverage of the event, and an insightful look into the lives of the six Sherpas who were involved.97804512333189780451233318One Mountain Thousand SummitsNon-fictionen, K2 Surviving Three Days in the Death Zone, 1th Edition Edition.Rooijen, Wilco van & Thurman, RogerG+J Publishing CV2010In the summer of 2008 the 'Norit K2 expedition' climbed without additional oxygen the 8611 meter high peak of K2 in Pakistan. During the descent the expedition turned from triumph to tradedy. One of the biggest tradedy's in mountain climbing history. Statistical every quarter 'conqueror' will die on the "Killer Mountain". In 2008 11 climbers lost their life. The news was going over the whole world from CNN, Al-Jazeera, Sky News, BBC, New York Times etc.Wilco van Rooijen, the Dutch expedition leader has been missing for three days and give up by the outside world. On his last strength he came back a life out of the 'Death Zone'. The 'Norit K2' Expedition 2008 paid a high price. What exactly took place that August 1, 2008? How could this tragedy have taken place?97890892704679789089270467Surviving K2Non-fictionen and The Summit: How Triumph Turned to Tragedy on K2's Deadliest Days.Falvey, Pat & Pemba, Sherpa GyaljeO'brien Press Ltd2013On 1 August 2008, 18 climbers from across the world reached the summit of K2, the world's second highest and most dangerous mountain - a peak which claims the life of one in every four climbers who attempt it. Over the course of 28 hours, however, K2 had exacted a deadly toll: 11 lives were lost in a series of catastrophic accidents. Attracting a climbing elite and standing at 8,611 metres on the Pakistan-China border, K2 is known as the 'Mountaineer's Mountain' because of its extreme technical challenges, its dangerously unpredictable weather and an infamous and hazardous overhanging wall of ice known as the Serac. Snow-bound at Base Camp for weeks on end and increasingly despairing of their prospects of success, an unexpected weather window gave the climbers the opportunity they were waiting for. In their collective desire to reach the summit, seven expeditions agreed to co-ordinate their efforts and share their equipment. Triumph quickly turned to tragedy, however, when a seemingly flawless plan unravelled with lethal consequences. Over the course of three days, a Nepalese Sherpa called Pemba Gyalje, along with five other Sherpas, was at the centre of a series of attempts to rescue climbers who had become trapped in the Death Zone, unable to escape its clutches and debilitated by oxygen deprivation, chronic fatigue, delirium and a terrifying hopelessness. The tragedy became a controversy as the survivors walked from the catastrophe on the mountain into an international media storm, in which countless different stories emerged, some contradictory and many simply untrue. Based on Pemba Gyalje's eyewitness account and drawing on a series of interviews with the survivors which were conducted for the award-winning documentary, The Summit (Image Now Films and Pat Falvey Productions, 2012), The Summit: How Triumph Turned to Tragedy on K2's Deadliest Days is the most comprehensive interpretation of one of modern-day mountaineering's most controversial disasters.97818471764319781847176431The SummitNon-fictionen. Obviously there is no shortage of articles covering the disaster in main stream media including: Few False Moves, K2 tragedy: 'We had no body, no funeral, no farewell ...' and K2: The Killing Peak. Unfortunately this is not the first time when large group of climbers were held captive high on K2 with catastrophic results: 1986 K2 disaster.

One Day as a Tiger

Source: . Credit: https://www.v-publishing.co.uk,  Licensed under: Public Domain.
Source: Vertebrate Publishing. Credit: https://www.v-publishing.co.uk, Licensed under: Public Domain.

Once again, Amazon recommendations came up with interesting suggestion in a form of One Day as a Tiger: Alex Macintyre and the Birth of Light and Fast Alpinism.Porter, JohnVertebrate Publishing2014'The wall was the ambition, the style became the obsession.' In the autumn of 1982, a single stone fell from high on the south face of Annapurna and struck Alex MacIntyre on the head, killing him instantly and robbing the climbing world of one of its greatest talents. Although only 28 years old, Alex was already one of the leading figures in British mountaineering's most successful era. His ascents included hard new routes on Himalayan giants like Dhaulagiri and Changabang and a glittering record of firsts in the Alps and Andes. Yet how Alex climbed was as important as what he climbed. He was a mountaineering prophet, sharing with a handful of contemporaries - including his climbing partner Wojciech Kurtyka - the vision of a purer form of alpinism on the world's highest peaks. One Day As A Tiger, John Porter's revelatory and poignant memoir of his friend Alex MacIntyre, shows mountaineering at its extraordinary best and tragic worst - and draws an unforgettable picture of a dazzling, argumentative and exuberant legend.97819102400839781910240083One Day as a TigerNon-fictionen. The book is a biography of Alex McIntyre, a name that may not be household name like Reinhold Messner, but arguably just about as influential for the development of modern alpinism.

After ticking some of the hardest alpine routes of the era, he steered to Himalaya for bigger objectives. With partners like Wojciech Kurtyka he was a strong advocate of pushing pure alpine style to the biggest routes on the highest peak at the time when massive expeditions and siege tactics were very much the norm. Granted, there had been alpine style attempts and even successful ascents before, such as the first ascent of West SpurBroad Peak8047mWest sideAD; 60°Normally three high camps. by Fritz Wintersteller, Marcus Schmuck, Kurt Diemberger and Hermann Buhl, even purer in style climbs on East sideSkilbrum7410mEast side53h and Chogolisa by the same climbers during the same expedition and even far earlier attempts by Albert F. Mummery on Nanga Parbat8126m to name a few examples.

McIntyre arguably pushed the style further than any of his predecessors laying the groundwork for a style that much later became to be known as fast 'n light style. McIntyre sadly died at the age of 28 when climbing on Annapurna I8091m. Before his untimely death he put up extremely impressive palmares including:

The author John Porter was not familiar to me. However, having participated in many of McIntyres's biggest climbs he clearly was at the forefront of the sport during the late 70's/early 80's. However, his contribution to climbing world does not stop at selection of landmark ascents as he is one of the founder's of Kendall Mountain Festival as well as co-founder of SteepEdge.

Everest 2015

Source: . Credit: http://www.impawards.com/,  Licensed under: Public Domain.
Source: IMP Awards. Credit: http://www.impawards.com/, Licensed under: Public Domain.

I have been wondering whatever happened to Stephen Daldry 's film project about 1996 Everest disaster. It was widely reported in media some years ago but then seemed to drop from the face of the earth, until at some point there were rumours about David Fincher directing it. Then about nothing, so at least I thought that it had become abandonware.

Not so, as apparently the film Everest will infact see the light of the day, albeit not with either Daldry or Fincher helming it. The director Baltasar Kormákur may not be that well known, but the cast consists of the A-listers Keira Knightley and Jake Gyllenhaal so the producing studio Working Title seems to be serious with this one (Budget is reported to be $65 million). Which is not something you could say about much earlier tv film about the same event based on Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Everest Disaster.Krakauer, JonImport1997Into Thin Air is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer's book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author's own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.03854920810385492081Into Thin AirNon-fictionen. Working Title is best known for romantic comedies like Notting Hill so it's definitely interesting to see what they can make with the subject matter worlds apart.

As the movie is said to be based on Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Everest Disaster.Krakauer, JonImport1997Into Thin Air is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer's book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author's own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.03854920810385492081Into Thin AirNon-fictionen it will be interesting to see what they make out of the debacle that followed the tragic incident. Namely Jon Krakauer questioned a lot of actions of Anatoli Boukreev, who was the head climbing guide of Scott Fischer 's team. Accusing him of recklessness and abandoning his clients, even being the cause of some of the deaths. Later some of the 'facts' presented by Krakauer have revealed to have been liberal with the truth. Boukreev's point is backed of by the fact that a grand total of none of his clients lost their life. Krakauer's view is strongly opposed by many climbers, such as Galen Roswell, Simone Moro and Lene Gammelgård (the latter was part of the climb) as well as American Alpine Club. The latter honored Anatoli Boukreev with its highest award. The very prestigious David A. Sawles award, conferred only nine times in the previous 16 years, is given only to climbers who have "distinguished themselves, with unselfish devotion at personal risk or at sacrifice of a major objective, in going to the assistance of fellow climbers." If the movie's position is anything like to Into Thin Air's, I highly recommend reading also The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest.Boukreev, Anatoli & Dewalt, G.WestonPan Books2002The Climb is Russian mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev's account of the harrowing May 1996 Mount Everest attempt, a tragedy that resulted in the deaths of eight people. The book is also Boukreev's rebuttal to accusations from fellow climber and author Jon Krakauer, who, in his bestselling memoir, Into Thin Air, suggests that Boukreev forfeited the safety of his clients to achieve his own climbing goals. Investigative writer and Climb coauthor G. Weston DeWalt uses taped statements from the surviving climbers and translated interviews from Boukreev to piece together the events and prove to the reader that Boukreev's role was heroic, not opportunistic. Boukreev refers to the actions of expedition leader Scott Fischer throughout the ascent, implying that factors other than the fierce snowstorm may have caused this disaster. This new account sparks debate among both mountaineers and those who have followed the story through the media and Krakauer's book. Readers can decide for themselves whether Boukreev presents a laudable defense or merely assuages his own bruised ego.03004889610300488961The ClimbNon-fictionen.

The Roskelley Collection

Source: . Credit: The Mountaineers,  Licensed under: Public Domain.
Source: Mountaineers Books. Credit: The Mountaineers, Licensed under: Public Domain.

In 2014 spring John Roskelley was awarded Career Piolet d'Or, a trophy formerly awarded to Walter Bonatti, Reinhold Messner, Doug Scott, Robert Paragot and Kurt Diemberger, all mountaineering legends.

Roskelley was not too familiar to me although I had bumped into his name here and there. As Amazon 's recommendations email featured his book The Roskelley Collection.Roskelley, JohnMountaineers Books2012Three extraordinary stories of mountaineering literature, now combined in one volume* Includes 30 color and 75 black-and-white photographs* Part of The Mountaineers Books "Legends and Lore" series for climbers, armchair mountaineers, and readers of classic adventure literature The Roskelley Collection includes legendary climber John Roskelley's three acclaimed books, together for the first time in one volume and all written with opinion, self-reflective humor, and spellbinding adventure. Also included are two new essays about Roskelley's more recent climbs with his son: an ice climb (Slipstream) in Colorado and a summit climb of Everest.Stories off the Wall is Roskelleys autobiography, told in a series of essays that includes accounts of attempts and ascents on the North Face of the Eiger, in the Russian Pamirs, in Yosemite, and in the Himalaya. Nanda Devi: The Tragic Expedition, a compelling and emotionally raw page-turner, chronicles the 1976 expedition, co-led by Ad Carter and Willi Unsoeld, on which Unsoeld's daughter, Nanda Devi Unsoeld, died on her eponymous mountain. Last Days recounts two legendary climbs in the Himalaya: one a successful first ascent of Tawoche in Nepal with Jeff Lowe, the other an attempt on Menlungste with Jim Wickwire, Greg Child, and Jeff Duenwald.97815948566489781594856648The Roskelley CollectionNon-fictionen, I decided it was time to change that and wen on to do some research. Mr. Roskelley has several groundbreaking ascents (like NE ridgeK28611mEast faceV, 50-70°, Direct east faceUli Biaho Tower6109mEast facenccs VII 5.11d,A434 pitches, American routeGreat Trango TowerMain summit, West side5.9,aid and West faceGauri Sankar7145mShankar, West faceA32800m, 66 pitches, many of which still unrepeated and marking milestones in technical climbing in Greater ranges) to his name.

The book consists of books: Stories Off the Wall, Reprint edition.Roskelley, JohnMountaineers Books1998He has lost toes to frostbite, suffered pulmonary edema, survived avalanches and icy bivouacs. Roskelley, one of America's premier mountaineers, recounts his experiences on the high peaks and his transition from teenage exploits to middle-age prudence. He offers stirring tales of adventure: a dramatic rescue on Denali (Mt. McKinley), an impulse climb on the North Face of the Eiger, tackling a frozen waterfall in Canada's Banff National park. Roskelley claims three 8000-meter peaks; he was the first American to reach the summit of 27,000-foot Mahalu in Nepal. He attended the ill-fated 1974 International Climbers Camp in the Russian Pamirs, an expedition beset by an earthquake and avalanches, during which one of his companions and nine women climbers died. To select a climbing partner, Roskelley uses the "shoelace test"--if the person's shoelaces don't stay tied, he won't tie onto a rope with him or her. His adventures provide peak reading.97808988660949780898866094Stories off the WallNon-fictionen, Nanda Devi: The Tragic Expedition.Roskelley, JohnMountaineers Books2000In 1976, John Roskelley joined an expedition to climb Nanda Devi, the third highest mountain in the Indian Himalayas. This is the story of that ascent, led by top mountaineer Willi Unsoeld, whose young, inexperienced daughter, named for the peak, perished there. It is the story also of Ad Carter, part of the team that first summited Nanda Devi forty years earlier; and of Lou Reichert and Jim States, two of the three members to actually reach the summit. But mostly this book is about Roskelley himself, who led the summit party of three and who outspokenly criticized an expedition that allowed unqualified climbers to participate in the technically difficult ascent. Originally published in 1987, Nanda Devi: The Tragic Expedition established Roskelley's reputation for being not only a forthright and uncompromising climbing critic, but also a wise and authoritative mountaineer dedicated to grueling preparedness.97808988673989780898867398Nanda Devi: The Tragic ExpeditionNon-fictionen and Last Days, 1st edition.Roskelley, JohnStackpole Books1991Roskelley, one of mountain climbing's more prominent figures, describes two of his Himalayan climbs: Tawoche's East Face in Nepal (summited 1984) and Menlungste's Southeast Ridge in Tibet (attempted 1990). In addition to detailing the climbs, Roskelley offers his climbing ethics: a quick alpine-style climb is preferable to porter-supported battering of the route by teams of climbers; depend on skill and experience; opt out when luck is given too big a part in the climb. His point of view is that of a family man approaching middle age, yet his language is that of latter-day climbers. Recommended where there is a climbing clientele.- Paula M. Strain, MLS, Rockville, Md.97808117088909780811708890Last DaysNon-fictionen and seemed to be highly recommended. Besides, such many-in-single-covers books (Kurt Diemberger Omnibus: Summits & Secrets, the Endless Knot, Spirits of the Air.Diemberger, KurtMountaineers Books1999Kurt Diemberger is a the only person alive to have made first ascents on two 8,000-metre peaks – Dhaulagiri and Broad Peak – and he is recognised as one of the finest chroniclers of his contemporary mountaineering scene. His books have popular around the world and his writing is guaranteed to enlighten, move and entertain.As a fantastic mountaineer and career expeditioner, and a skilled filmmaker and writer he has been a witness to 50 years of eventful Alpinism and Himalayan climbing. He gives us a link to the golden age when the 8000-metre peaks were first climbed – in the 1950s and early 60s.The Kurt Diemberger Omnibus brings together three fine books, one of which, The Endless Knot, is perhaps the most gripping and tragic mountaineering saga ever written. It describes the ill-starred K2 attempts of 1986 during which thirteen climbers died in a variety of incidents. At the end of the season seven climbers made one last bid to gain the summit, five succeeded but, overtaken by a storm during the descent, only two of the seven climbers survived. One of them was Diemberger, who describes events with harrowing candour.Summits and Secrets deals with Diemberger’s early climbs in the Alps, the Hindu Kush and the Himalaya. It describes the epoch-making first ascent of Broad Peak in 1957 and the equally significant first ascent of Dhaulagiri in 1960, where he reached the summit with a Swiss team. The final book is the more relaxed Spirits of the Air, where Diemberger reflects on his varying – and often hilarious adventures – and on the contrasts between his life in Italy, Austria and the always-beckoning Himalaya.97808988660639780898866063Non-fictionen and The Boardman Tasker Omnibus: Savage Arena, the Shining Mountain, Sacred Summits, Everest the Cruel Way.Tasker, Joe; Boardman, Peter & Bonington, ChrisMountaineers Books1995Peter Boardman and Joe Tasker each two accomplished books which, deservedly, soon acquired classic status and became required reading for all those venturing to high altitude. It is fitting that the memorial to these two exceptional climbers and writers should take the form of the annual Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature. As for their own four books, these are now reprinted for the first time in one volume. 97808988643669780898864366Non-fictionen) are great for longer trips.

Crack School

Wild Country Crack School Masterclass - with Pete Whittaker and Tom Randall.

British gear manufacturer Wild Country sponsors Tom Randall and Pete Whittaker, known as Wide Boys. The lads are no slouches when it comes to crack climbing whether it being full body combat of off-withing or the other end of the width spectrum.

Hot Aches has filmed their exploits on Century Crack (wide boyz ) and Cobra Crack (wide boyz ii – slender gentlemen ). The manufacturer has also produced Crack School Videos a series of videos where the guys reveal tricks of the trade.

Wide Boyz II – slender gentlemen

Slender Gentlemen. Source: . Credit: Hot Aches,  Licensed under: Public Domain.
Slender Gentlemen. Source: Hot Aches. Credit: Hot Aches, Licensed under: Public Domain.

features some cutting edge climbing both in alpine terrain (Shark's FinMeru Central6310mNorth East Pillar6a,A4, WI5,M61400m) as well as high-end rock climbing. I would imagine most of us having seen the film remember section titled "Wide Boys", as it is driven, gripping and funny all at the same time.

I wasn't too sure about whether I should buy the full-length version of Wide Boyz as I already owned the Reel Rock. Boy am I glad I did, as it is not merely a extended cut of the same film, rather than completely different movie. Having really enjoyed the film, when I read that there's a sequel in the making, a decision to buy it was a no-brainer.

The sequel Wide Boyz II – Slender Gentlemen sees the lads change their focus from wide to thin. Having tamed the most difficult offwidth, Pete and Tom set their sight to Cobra Crack, a legendary finger crack located in Squamish, Canada. The coveted first ascent of Cobra Crack fell to Sonnie Trotter in 2006. At the time it was considered one of the hardest traditional crack routes in the world, and still is. The grade was never set in stone and has wavered somewhere in the low to mid 5.14 range. Some seriously interesting additional info can be dug out from the web regarding the preparation for the climb, the climb itself as well as behind the scenes action.

Crampon tuning

Petzl Dart. In many ways a polar opposite of Grivel Rambo 4. Very light and reportedly highly sensitive due to horizontal and minimal frame. Configuration of secondary points seems very good, although it has no smaller additional point between frontpoint and outside secondary point. Furthermore, secondary points could benefir from being a tad longer and facing outwards. Also, points facing backwards woulkd work better for hooking if they were polaced further to the back (or maybe those backmost orange points could have similar shape than the back part of secondary point). Credit: Petzl promo photo, Licensed under: Public Domain.
Petzl Dart. In many ways a polar opposite of Grivel Rambo 4. Very light and reportedly highly sensitive due to horizontal and minimal frame. Configuration of secondary points seems very good, although it has no smaller additional point between frontpoint and outside secondary point. Furthermore, secondary points could benefir from being a tad longer and facing outwards. Also, points facing backwards woulkd work better for hooking if they were polaced further to the back (or maybe those backmost orange points could have similar shape than the back part of secondary point). Credit: Petzl promo photo, Licensed under: Public Domain.

I was planning on replacing the heel lever of my Darts and Lynxes with Grivel one, as it has the attachment strap in the top whereas Petzl level has it at the bottom. Grivel placement has two advantages: it is more secure and the lever is easier to open.

As for the security, the lever cannot open when the strap is closer, as its position makes it physically impossible for the lever to open. This is not a biggie in my book, as the lever of Petzl crampons has never opened accidentally on me; neither have I ever seen it open for anyone else. I have however read of that happening. As for the opening part, Grivel lever is dead simple to open by simply pulling on the straps, while Petzl one needs to be pressed open. Like mentioned before, neither one of those are big issues, but as the function can be made better with no penalty, there's no reason to do so.

Unfortunately the switch doesn't really work as the bail of the lever is longer in Petzl design. Effectively this means that you would have to make the crampon too long in order for the Grivel lever to work. Additionally, Grivel bail is somewhat thicker, which causes it not to work too well with Petzl crampon. So basically you would have to switch the whole back part. Unfortunaly I don't have Grivel back parts lying around anymore. You can't replace just the lever either, as Grivel design is such, that the bail doesn't easily come apart. BD levers would also have strap at the top, but I don't have any of their crampons, so can't comment whether that would work on Petzl crampons. I've read that they can be fitted, but then again I also read the same regarding the Grivel lever.

While I was trying the mod, I also compared the crampons. One thing I like about the Petzl DartPetzlDarthttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/dart_2.jpgThe DART is the crampon for extreme mixed and ice climbing. The mono-point is designed to displace less ice and make for precise placements on micro-edges. The third row of points is angled towards the rear for hooking in steep terrain or around ice columns. Ultra-lightweight. is that their secondary points are placed more forward than those of Grivel Rambo 4GrivelRambo 4http://www.grivel.com/upload/products/crampons/15/binding_0/15_l.jpgOur range’s most technical crampon is now at its fourth evolution, integrating Grivel’s active anti-balling plate and simplifying all adjustments: just one screw to adjust the length, just one screw to substitute a point, just one screw to position the spur. Rigid crampon with anatomic curve. Asymmetrical forged mono-point, extremely easy to substitute with just one screw, integrated with a half point external lateral support point: a new solution for external support. Structure in rigid plastic acts as a spacer for the screws and as support for the supple rubber anti-balling device. Accordeon in supple rubber holds together the front and rear parts of the anti balling system. Four retention points for descent. Moveable spur. Completely patented. 's. Even if I have replaced the front bail with the one taken from old Rambo 2. It is somewhat longer than the bail of Rambo IV, therefore I placed it furthest to the back, whereas I used the original bail in the middle hole. I believe this evens out the lack of additional tertiary point in Petzl design.

On another note, Dart feel stickier and more secure than Petzl LynxPetzlLynxhttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/lynx_1.jpgFrom snow couloirs to dry tooling, the LYNX is a versatile crampon. Modular front points allow for many options: dual or mono-point, long or short, and/or asymmetrical. They come with two types of interchangeable front bindings to adapt to boots with or without toe welts.. Apparent reason is not obvious, as the location of the secondary points appears to be damn near identical. Possibly this could at least partially be due to failed front point system of the Lynx as the front point wiggles around unless the screw is very tight. Which it won't stay for very long, as it tends to loosen eagerly. The issue is made worse by back retention mechanism of Lynx front points, which allows the point to wiggle sideways.

I've seen a pair of Lynxes modded with additional small point to offer more stability. This is done to mimick the additional point of Grivel Rambo IV. It was done simply by adding another front point, which was modded heavily to be half as long as the original. Reportedly it adds stability and works well, despite it being a bit too close to the front point.

The reasoning behind this is to mimick the stability gains of conventional twin front points without the down sides. All things being equal, twin front points are more stable on pure ice, no questions about that. However, it is not the whole story, as monopoint penetrates the ice better, which makes it easier to plant it deeper, particularly in pick holes. Monos have other advantages as well. On pure ice, the second front point has a tendency to lever the crampon out of ice, when you twist your foot sideways. Which is unfortunately pretty much unavoidable when topping on bulges. On mixed ground, monos are generally far better as they go readily in cracks on rock almost like pitons. Therefore you can often get a very good foothold where you would have basically nothing with twin points.

In order for such tertiary points to fulfill their purpose, they need to be placed far enough from the front point. Too close, and they hinder the penetration in ice. This not ideal in the modded Lynx, as it ends ups a bit too close. It also needs to be long enough to have any noticeable effect. Black Diamond StingerBlack DiamondStingerhttp://demandware.edgesuite.net/sits_pod21/dw/image/v2/AAKN_PRD/on/demandware.static/Sites-BlackDiamond-Site/Sites-bdel/default/v1374905101088/products/ice_alpine/400029_stinger_web.jpg?sw=472Designed to tackle serious ice and mixed lines on winter crags and alpine faces the world over, the Black Diamond Stinger is our lightweight stainless steel crampon with a replaceable monopoint. An asymmetrical design fits the contours of modern mountain boots, and thin, low-profile heel and toe wires offer a precise fit for less weight. and Grivel G14GrivelG14An evolution of the species. Our G14 crampons combine the technical performance of forged, vertical frontpoints with the low profile, collapsible frame of the G-12 to make an altogether fresh, modular, and customizable crampon suited to many climbing disciplines. Our success and experience with the Rambo crampons reinforces the efficiency of forged points: they penetrate hard ice better, with less vibration, and offer the opportunity to combine vertical and horizontal axis. Front points are simple to configure on the G14, allowing the user to build mono or dual point crampons and replace worn points easily. The low profile of the crampon frame places the climber´s foot closer to rock or ice, and is less prone to balling up. At last, alpine climbing crampons with the technical performance of their ice and modern mixed counterparts. The G14 crampon is delivered with the Antibott included. have too short points imo, so they barely make contact to ice. Best designs in this respect are the aforementioned Grivel Rambo IV and possibly Simond MonocerosSimondMonoceroshttp://www.simond.com/media/min/Monoceros_3253_662x496_img_ori.jpgUltra-lightweight mono-point crampon designed for ice climbing and dry tooling. Asymetric, semi-rigid structure that perfectly matches the curve and shape of your boot, for a more precise bite. Improved rigidity between crampon and boot. 15 points: 11 at the front, 4 under heel. Speed bindings for use on boots with toe and heel welts. Comes with crampon bag and tool. Weight includes anti-balling plates., the latter of which I have never seen in real life.

While talking about the crampons, not much has changed during the recent years, despite all of the best design having some room for improvement. I've not seen Simond Monoceros or heard anything about their performance, so can't really comment on them. Designwise it looks promising though.

  • Grivel Rambo 4GrivelRambo 4http://www.grivel.com/upload/products/crampons/15/binding_0/15_l.jpgOur range’s most technical crampon is now at its fourth evolution, integrating Grivel’s active anti-balling plate and simplifying all adjustments: just one screw to adjust the length, just one screw to substitute a point, just one screw to position the spur. Rigid crampon with anatomic curve. Asymmetrical forged mono-point, extremely easy to substitute with just one screw, integrated with a half point external lateral support point: a new solution for external support. Structure in rigid plastic acts as a spacer for the screws and as support for the supple rubber anti-balling device. Accordeon in supple rubber holds together the front and rear parts of the anti balling system. Four retention points for descent. Moveable spur. Completely patented. is heavy and bulky. Aside of that it would benefit from secondary points placed further forward. It is also absolutely the worst crampon to walk in, due to their height caused by vertical frame and lack of bite underfoot when walking (point facing forward and back rather than straight down).
  • Obvious down side of Petzl DartPetzlDarthttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/dart_2.jpgThe DART is the crampon for extreme mixed and ice climbing. The mono-point is designed to displace less ice and make for precise placements on micro-edges. The third row of points is angled towards the rear for hooking in steep terrain or around ice columns. Ultra-lightweight. is their lack of changeable front point. Granted the whole front section can be replaced, however their availability is rather limited and they cost a lot more than front points. This is not as big of a deal as one might think though, as secondary points wear as well which affects the crampons bite. Also, the front point is fairly long to start with, so it can be filed a good bit before it gets too short. They also lack antibot and the point underfoot are fairly scarce, so they are not ideal alpine crampons. Lack of antibot is not as bad with many other crampons though due to minimal area.
  • Petzl LynxPetzlLynxhttp://www.petzl.com/files/imagecache/product_outdoor_slideshow_image/node_media/lynx_1.jpgFrom snow couloirs to dry tooling, the LYNX is a versatile crampon. Modular front points allow for many options: dual or mono-point, long or short, and/or asymmetrical. They come with two types of interchangeable front bindings to adapt to boots with or without toe welts. is very good crampon for overall use, however they don't feel as good to climb in as Darts. Also the front point attachment system is far from ideal. I also know of several snapped front bails. Interestingly, I have not heard of that happening with Darts, albeit the front bail looks identical. Perhaps Petzl has been getting bad batch of steel from their supplier.
  • Black Diamond StingerBlack DiamondStingerhttp://demandware.edgesuite.net/sits_pod21/dw/image/v2/AAKN_PRD/on/demandware.static/Sites-BlackDiamond-Site/Sites-bdel/default/v1374905101088/products/ice_alpine/400029_stinger_web.jpg?sw=472Designed to tackle serious ice and mixed lines on winter crags and alpine faces the world over, the Black Diamond Stinger is our lightweight stainless steel crampon with a replaceable monopoint. An asymmetrical design fits the contours of modern mountain boots, and thin, low-profile heel and toe wires offer a precise fit for less weight. is in many ways similar to Dart but with replaceable front point. Which also makes them heavier. They also wear pretty fast.
  • Never tried the Grivel G20GrivelG20http://www.grivel.com/upload/products/crampons/23/binding_0/23_l.jpgThe evolution of the modern technique of climbing ice push towards a more fluid motion, more elegant and faster, therefore it demands a crampon that makes it possible: a technical crampon, and a super-light one. G20 is a crampon 100% technical, reliable, efficient and the LIGHTEST IN THE WORLD: less than 800 grams per pair! The new MONO-RAIL technology (patented) distributes the 12 points in an intelligent and original way. but a mate had them (1st gen). At least that one had the front point in stupid angle (facing out) making them awkward to kick. The design has changed since then though, not sure whether the front point is now in better angle. Furthermore, the mono rail system makes them higher when walking, which in all likelihood will have similar stability issues than the Rambo when walking in rocky terrain but to lesser extent. However, they have few point underwood, which can't be a good thing when walking. I also know of at least pair which had the mono rail snap off.

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