Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /nfs/c06/h04/mnt/86521/domains/blog.mahoneyalpineadventures.com/html/wp-content/themes/crisp/functions/admin-hooks.php on line 160

New tools.

Every time I get new ice tools I feel like a kid at Christmas time. I want to run out and climb the closest chunk of ice I can find. Perhaps it is because I am a guy and guys like tools.

first day on the new Fusions

first day on the new Fusions

Josh Hurst in the Mica Mine

Josh Hurst in the Mica Mine

When I started ice climbing, a friend Eugene Woody, took me to the North End of Cathedral ledge for some top roping. One time and I was hooked. By the time the following winter came around Eugene had moved out of town and I was stuck as the only ice climber I knew. Sure I lived in the Mecca for East coast ice climbing but I was too insecure to ask a stranger to climb with me. I got my self Yvon Chouinard’s Climbing Ice book and went from there. The first ice tools I owned were a combination of an aluminum mountaineering axe and a sawed off Humming Bird from IME’s consignment shop. They worked fine for all the slab ice and even the North end pillars in March.

Phil and Nico Walsh testing their new tools

Phil and Nico Walsh testing their new tools

Now it was Christmas and I had no partner and I wanted to climb. I set out on a cold xmas morning to climb the North end pillars solo. I had done them many times the previous season on top rope so I figured it must be like rock climbing, if you are familiar with the route soloing is not that bad. I started up the bulletproof ice and instantly struggled to get good sticks with my mountaineering axe, the aluminum piolet would bounce off and I would swing again. Being too stubborn for my own good I persevered and soon found my self thirty feet up clinging with frozen hands onto inadequate tools trying to get a stick in the final bulge. Down climbing was not an option. I had blown the first rule of soloing: never climb something you can’t down climb, unless you can get to the top. Several moments passed while I alternated between warming my hands and trying to get a better tool placement. Fear crept in like the cold, slow and steady until it started to overwhelm me. I was too inexperienced to know my options. All I knew was, don’t fall!

As fear and cold mingled in my body I discovered something about myself that I never knew. I could consume the pain of the cold and get stronger and I could inhale my own fear to gain focus. I diligently continued inching my way over the bulge and topped out. Ice climbing had hooked me hard but my ice tools sucked!

new fusions on diedre

new fusions on diedre

The very next day I walked into IME and bought a brand new set of Grivel Super Courmayeur tools. With new tools in hand I could not wait to climb everything in the valley. Still with no partner I systematically climbed most of the routes in Crawford notch one grade at a time solo.  I gained new found confidence in my climbing and my self.

New tools on Thin Air

New tools on Thin Air

I still want winter to last longer and new ice tools inspire me to climb.  I just took my new Black Diamond Fusion tools out for a week of fun and loved every swing.

2 Responses to “New tools.”

  1. Brad Fergsuon
    January 12, 2010 at 11:40 pm #

    Hello Kevin,
    What do you think of the new tools? Are they decent all around tools or more for M climbing? thanks
    Brad Ferguson

  2. Aunt Nancy
    January 28, 2010 at 10:55 pm #

    Kevin–So proud, so impressed–both pics and text get better and better. Rock on!!!!

Leave a Reply