The Guides’ Blog

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How to Dress for Mountaineering & Ice Climbing

January 9, 2024 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Guides' Tech Tips

It’s nearly winter, and I have started to gather my equipment together for my annual migration to New England for ice climbing and mountaineering.  It’s second nature now, but packing for a mountaineering objective was overwhelming when I was first starting out. I’m gonna share my systems with you all- I hope to clarify and simplify all the stuff that’s needed to be comfortable in the mountains.(let's’ be honest- there are plenty of ways to suffer. Poor kit choices shouldn’t be one of them)

One important note when you are assembling your kit: Have your detective hat on when looking at gear. I’ve noticed a trend in the mainstream outdoor gear industry-street style is now being integrated into the design ethos of the kit. Ask yourself, Is it designed for the mountains or is it designed for Starbucks? Speaking of trends, Some of these same companies are also using the bleeding edge of climbing to influence design choices. The $900 ultralight Dyneema backpack or tent may be super useful for a trip to the north faces of the Himalaya, but for a first time kit that’s nowhere near necessary. All that happens is the high spe




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Communication in Rock Climbing

October 25, 2023 fmg-adminGuides' Tech Tips Rock Climbing

Communication is an essential component of rock climbing. For decades now climbers have been using a system of commands to manage the inherent risks of climbing. Paul Petzoldt a legendary mountaineer and founder of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) developed this system of voice signals sometime during the mid 1920’s to 1930’s. He had come to the realization that it is difficult to understand and hear the human voice in mountainous terrain. So, instead of trying to use sentences, Paul came up with a system that is brief and utilizes syllables which can be counted. For example, “Tension” vs. “Slack.” Tension has two syllables while slack has one. So, even if one can’t hear the words clearly, they should be able to distinguish the syllables. While this system works well, it still has its limitations. Additionally, climbers have developed other commands over the years which can be unclear in their meaning and aren’t cohesive with Petzoldt’s syllabic system. It’s also important to recognize that climbers may have differences in dialect, may not be able to hear, speak, or see, yet they are still able to communicate




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“Plus Clipping” to Manage Risk in Multi-pitch Climbing

June 23, 2023 fmg-adminFundamentals Fridays Guides' Tech Tips Rock Climbing

Having a factor 2 fall is a concern unique to multi-pitch climbing. As we teach students in our Rock 401 course, this situation occurs if the leader leaves the anchor and falls before placing gear. The scenario creates the highest possible forces an anchor can see and can lead to a host of problems. Plus clipping is a way to mitigate this risk.

First, a primer on fall factor (FF): fall factor is the ratio of distance fallen to amount of rope out. The largest possible fall factor is 2, and it creates dangers for the leader, the anchor, and the belayer because of the forces generated. This would occur if the climber fell before placing any gear. Ex: A 10ft fall on 5ft of rope-10/5 is 2; we know that as a FF of 2.  Larger forces on less rope puts more resultant force onto the belayer. This is a concern when there is hard climbing right off the belay. It only takes 3-4 kN to displace a belayer; and at a cramped stance, that displacement can get violent - violent enough to cause them to lose control of the brake strand of rope (due to their displacement into the rock).

Introducing more rope into the system can alleviate this p




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The Munter Mule Overhand (MMO)

April 22, 2023 fmg-adminGuides' Tech Tips Rock Climbing

The munter hitch or Italian hitch is a foundational tool that can serve many purposes in the rock and alpine climbing environment.

It can work as a belay tool in the off chance that you accidentally drop your device, and it can be used to lower a climber or even rappel. When tied off with a mule hitch and backed up with an overhand, the munter-mule-overhand or MMO becomes a great releasable hitch that is integral to effecting any rescue involving a rope.

The MMO is material efficient, requiring a single HMS style carabiner and a rope, and it is easy to construct with some practice. 

Tying the MMO is simple yet should be practiced many times before being used in an actual scenario. You’ll start by tying a munter hitch in the loaded position, or lowering position, instead of the belay position. Next, you’ll use the brake strand to create a mule hitch around the load strand. Once you’ve created the mule hitch, you’ll need to pull enough slack through to then finish with an overhand around the load strand.

Now you have a MMO which essentially fixes the load strand of rope but allows that fixed s




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Belaying Two Followers: Split Rope Technique

April 13, 2023 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Guides' Tech Tips Rock Climbing

As an ice climbing guide, I often use a split rope technique for belaying two followers (primarily to keep two climbers climbing simultaneously far enough away from each other to avoid being hit by ice). Recently, I've been using it while guiding rock as well, as I've found it to be a useful technique to streamline my systems.

For context, let’s first discuss belaying two followers at a time, in a parallel fashion, on rock. Typically, we as guides (and competent climbers) have used a plaquette style device (Reverso, ATC Guide, GiGi, etc) with both strands through one device. Simple, right?  It’s straightforward, until you need to manipulate the system in any way. That's why I consider it a contingent system. Both ropes rely upon a single blocking carabiner that holds both of them in place within the device. In order to remove one rope, we need some sort of terminal closure to keep the other climber safe while removing a strand of rope.  The system gets complex quickly, and there is space for error in the potential mess. On top of this, the two-ropes/one-device system has a significant failure mode if used on a traversing pitch. The




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Layering: How to Dress to Stay Warm in the Winter

February 2, 2023 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Fundamentals Fridays

Whether you are ice climbing, skiing, or hiking, the key to staying warm outdoors in the winter is layering. With so many options these days for technical outdoor wear, it can be daunting trying to figure out how put it all together. As long as you keep in mind the types of layers you need, you easily can find pieces that will help you stay comfortable in even the coldest temps.

In this cheeky video, AMGA Certified Ice Instructor Dan Riethmuller shows you a typical layering system for ice climbing. Critical layers include the following:

Baselayer to wick moisture away from skin. It should be wool or synthetic. Absolutely NO COTTON! You also want to make sure it's not too heavy given the conditions, or you'll end up too warm.

Midlayer, which is a light insulative layer too keep you warm while you're moving. Fleece and lightweight puffy sweaters work well.

Shell layer to protect from wind and moisture. Depending on just how wet it is, you can choose a "soft shell" or "hard shell."

Belay parka for maximum insulation during long periods of inactivity.

These same principles apply to your hands, feet, and head! For the hands, a




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Staying Warm for Winter Sports

January 6, 2023 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Fundamentals Fridays Guides' Tech Tips

It is officially winter now, and many people are eager to get outside to enjoy the beautiful winter scenery. No matter the activity, staying warm is essential to an enjoyable outing. With a little bit of planning and diligence we can turn what could have been a cold, miserable day into a fun, memorable experience. By following a few basic principles, we can begin to develop good habits which will help keep us warm while enjoying any cold weather activity. This post focuses on ice climbing, but these principles work for any cold weather activity.    

To keep it simple and easy to remember, I’ve broken it down into three principles or guidelines: 

Maintain calories and hydration

Dress appropriately: layer & stay dry

Anticipate conditions

Maintaining Calories and Hydration

To efficiently produce heat, your body needs to be well nourished and hydrated. Before a day of ice climbing, I like to eat a dinner high in protein along with complex carbohydrates. I also drink plenty of water to get ahead of the hydration curve. The day of, I eat a breakfast high in fat and protein with at least 1000 cal




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The Figure Eight Follow-Through Knot

December 22, 2022 fmg-adminFundamentals Fridays Guiding Rock Climbing

Why do I choose to tie in with the figure eight follow-through knot? Well, that's easy: it's the knot we all know and can readily identify! The figure eight follow-through knot has many great attributes. It's simple, strong, self-cinching; it takes two complete motions to untie; it's fairly easy to untie after being loaded, and most importantly, it's easy to identify and therefore double check! That ease of identification is my number one reason for using this knot.

Over the last eleven years of climbing I've dabbled with quite a few tie-in knots, and I always find myself coming back to old faithful. I’ve gone through the phases of finishing my eight with a Yosemite finish or even the Kentucky tuck. I've tied in with rethreaded bowlines and even the brotherhood knot. I've been told and heard all sorts of reasons why these knots are all better for sending or climbing above your limit. Things like, the bowline is much easier to untie after loading it versus an eight or, the "bro" knot is way more streamlined and keeps your tail out of the way when clipping. Yeah…..those things might be true to an extent, but do the pros outweigh the c




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A Back-to-Basics, KISS Resource for Rock Climbing Information

December 19, 2022 fmg-adminFundamentals Fridays Guiding Rock Climbing

With the social media explosion in the last decade and the attendant perceived need to constantly create new content to stay relevant, we have seen post after post on Instagram with climbing “tech tips.” Some are solid, but more often than not, they are just “clickbait”--some new slick trick to make you like a post, but not something you should necessarily be incorporating into your climbing repertoire, especially if you are new to climbing.  Given the limits of the forum , you are not likely to get all the caveats of a particular application or appreciate the qualifications and motivations of the person posting. 

One of our goals with our blog posts Our goal with our Fundamentals Fridays series is to introduce you to (or reacquaint you with) tried-and-true fundamentals of climbing: simple systems, redundancy, back-ups, and preparedness, rather than showy, slick-tricks designed to get clicks. The reality is, most people just want to have a fun, meaningful, and safe climbing outing. We seek to provide you with basic knowledge that will apply in most situations rather than esoteric techniques that have limited value at be




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Climbing First Aid Kit

December 8, 2022 fmg-adminFundamentals Fridays Guides' Tech Tips Rock Climbing

A climbing first aid kit should be one item that gets packed in your climbing kit no matter what......or your mountain biking kit, hiking kit, etc; basically a first aid kit should be an essential part of any kit for venturing into the wilderness. However, WHAT you put in your first aid kit can be tricky. There are plenty of kits out there that come pre-loaded with many of the essentials, but often there are items either missing or items that are not necessary.

The longer I have been climbing the less I want to carry to the crag or up the mountain. Over the years I have worked on dialing in my climbing kit which includes my first aid. I used to just buy one of those pre-loaded kits and throw that into my pack, but I started to realize that there were items in those kits that I didn’t need and they lacked items I deem essential. For this blog I’m focusing on a basic first aid kit for a single day out cragging or multipitch climbing. If you’re planning longer trips, the items below will provide a good foundation to add to. 

Prevention

Before I get into discussing the contents of my first aid kit, I’d like to emphasize that p




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Second Coming: An Example of How to Manage Risk when Climbing

August 12, 2022 fmg-adminFundamentals Fridays Guides' Tech Tips Guiding Rock Climbing Route Beta

A few weeks ago, another guide and I were climbing with guests and witnessed an experienced climber fall and break his ankle at the crux section of Second Coming. This is a popular 5.7 multi-pitch climb at Looking Glass Rock in North Carolina. We managed to get the climber to the ground, splint the ankle, and help him walk down the trail to meet with the local rescue squad. While the injury was not life threatening, it resulted in surgery and an estimated six months of recovery for the climber involved. While climbing is an inherently risky activity, this particular accident could have been prevented. Read on to find out how.

The Route

Second Coming follows a beautiful crack system for roughly 300 feet up the south side of Looking Glass. The first pitch starts off easy as 4th class terrain, but around halfway up it begins to steepen gradually. The top of the first pitch is guarded by the technical crux of the route which has some polished foot and hand holds and is steeper than the terrain below. Depending on conditions and overall comfort level, this is where you’re most likely to fall. This spot is roughly 80 feet off of the groun




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The Pre-rigged Rappel: What is it and Why Should You Use it?

June 13, 2022 fmg-adminFundamentals Fridays Guides' Tech Tips Guiding

Most people know what rappelling is, but are you familiar with the pre-rigged rappel, what it is, and why you should use it? Essentially "pre-rigged rappel" means that everyone who will be rappelling from the top of a climb sets up their rappel device before anyone leaves the rappel station. For example, if you are in a party of three at the top of multi-pitch climb, all three of you would set up your rappel devices on the rope before the first person rappels. Why would you want to do this? We'll explore that below and also discuss how to set it up.

Rappelling Fundamentals

When I’m teaching newer climbers, one of the first questions I ask is, “what is our primary level of security when climbing a route?” Most times, people will answer “the rope.” Though the rope is certainly an integral part of climbing, it is only a backup to our movement. Our ability to climb is our first level of security, and then the fall protection system (rope, bolts, gear, belay, etc…) is in place to arrest a fall. While climbing up, the rope is just a component of the backup system we have in place. This totally changes however when it is time to desce




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Gear Spotlight: Beal Dynaloop

May 8, 2022 fmg-adminGear Reviews Rock Climbing

It’s 2022. Climbing is more popular than ever before, and the increased number of users has ushered in a secondary revolution - innovation by equipment manufacturers has led to more specialized equipment intended to increase the margin of safety for us all. A quick Google search reveals how many new types of belay devices have been introduced in the last 5 years, from the ATC Pilot to the Revo to the Gri Gri+. All these devices are meant to add that extra layer of security so that we don’t hit the ground when we fall.  More on that in a separate post! 

I want to talk about another realm of materials innovation: soft goods.

 While ascending, we clove hitch ourselves to the anchor, reasons being:

A. We’re already attached to the rope with a figure 8 knot; 

B. We can enjoy the properties of that dynamic rope; and 

C. It’s easily adjustable to keep tension on that critical connection point.

Descent makes things tricky; we need the rope ends free to thread through rappel anchors. 

Historically, climbers have used a static tether when descending, whether it’s a designated




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Showa Gloves for Ice Climbing: Two (Blue) Thumbs Up

February 12, 2022 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Gear Reviews

Shopping for climbing gear can be overwhelming, and ice climbing gloves are no exception. Most gloves designed for ice climbing are quite expensive and never seem to perform as advertised. Over the years I have gone through several pairs of gloves, and I felt like I was always searching for a pair that didn’t exist. During last year’s ice season I noticed several climbers including other guides wearing blue gloves that I found out were actually designed for fishing. At first I was suspicious, but I decided to give them a try after learning they were only $25 a pair. 

Those popular blue gloves are the Showa Temres 282. They're a waterproof and breathable glove designed for people who work in cold and wet environments. They have a waterproof flexible outer layer with a rough grip. This works well for holding onto ice tools, minimizing the chance of dropping them. The inside of the glove has a warm, fleece-like lining that is soft and insulating. They have an ergonomic design which fits well to your hand. This is a huge benefit when clipping carabiners or tying knots . To top it off they are $25 per pair so they won’t break the bank. Ins




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The Season Never Ends – The Secret Sauce to Winter Rock Climbing in and Around Western North Carolina

February 1, 2022 fmg-adminRock Climbing Route Beta

A question I am frequently asked during our busy season is, “when do you stop climbing for the winter?” Every time I am asked this question (more often than not in 85 degree heat with 100% summer humidity) I give a little chuckle because winter rock climbing in North Carolina can be the best rock climbing!

What’s going through my head is this: late fall with the onset of crisp air and no sweat, followed by blue skies and warm rock heated by the winter sun. I know this must sound a little odd for the folks who live up north, but down here in Western North Carolina, we really do have it good all year round. Winter is actually one of the best seasons for climbing rock! I’d venture to say our busy season (summer) is just that for a couple of simple reasons: 1. It’s when most folks take vacation and 2. It’s when most folks figure the climbing weather is best. The latter, in my opinion, is far from the truth. In the sweltering and sweaty heat of the summer, I spend a lot of time pining after fall and winter climbing conditions (just ask my wife!)

The secret sauce:

At the time of this writing, it’s February 1st, and I’ve just h




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Tethering on Multipitch Rock Climbs

December 15, 2021 fmg-adminFundamentals Fridays Guiding Rock Climbing

When multipitch climbing, it is imperative that we attach ourselves to the rock with some form of tether. After I first got into multipitch climbing, many people were using daisy chains as a method of securing themselves to the mountain. Due to my lack of experience at the time, I assumed that this was a standard and safe practice. Fast forward a few years, and I learned that daisy chains are intended for aid climbing and are not designed to be used as a personal anchoring system (PAS), and in fact can be dangerous if used as such. I ditched my daisy chain and started attaching myself with a sling, or sometimes two slings. While not an unsafe practice, I learned that this system is unnecessary, inefficient, and creates clutter at the anchor. Eventually I learned the practice of anchoring myself by tying a clove hitch into the rope I’m attached to and securing the clove to a locking carabiner on the master point of the anchor. 

Clove Hitch Tether

When I first discovered using the clove hitch, I felt stupid for not learning it sooner. “How simple but utterly genius!” I thought. By attaching yourself to the anchor with the rope




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The Misty Mountain Cadillac Harness

October 7, 2021 fmg-adminGear Reviews

Most climbing guides have at least one piece of gear that they cannot live without. For FMG's Petey Guillard, it's hands down his Misty Mountain Cadillac Harness. As part of our "Things We Love Thursday" series, he tells you why he loves it, and why he thinks you will too.

Misty Mountain Threadworks: it's a local North Carolina climbing brand that needs no introduction. If you have been in the southern climbing scene for any length of time, you’ve heard of Misty Mountain Threadworks; they are known for their overbuilt, burly, and hand crafted harnesses that are made right here in NC’s high country. The Cadillac is the stuff of legend. For trad and multi-pitch climbing you just can’t beat this rig. Alright, lets get to it… 

My favorite piece of Misty gear is hands down the Cadillac. This beefy, cushy, masterpiece of a harness lives up to its name. With six gear loops, and a wide padded waste belt, one can comfortably rack a double set of cams, nuts, and draws with little feeling of being weighed down or harness sag. If you’ve ever tried racking a full kit on something like the Petzl Hirundos you know what I’m takin




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The Grove Park Inn

September 30, 2021 fmg-adminTravel Recommendations and Tips

When our guests book rock climbing trips, they often ask us for recommendations for other things to do in the area. Climbing may be their main objective, but they also want to know what other "must do" activities we suggest. We recently had someone who will be staying in Asheville over the Christmas holiday book a day of climbing, and he asked what else he could do with the rest of his family while he's in town. We hands down recommend a trip to the Grove Park Inn, which is ALWAYS spectacular, but is particularly wonderful at Christmastime.

During the holidays, the Grove Park transforms into a winter wonderland. In addition to festive decorations, they host the annual National Gingerbread House Competition and even had a life-size gingerbread house last year, filling the entire lobby with the wonderful smells of the holidays. Between that, and offering some of the best views in the area from its Sunset Terrace, the Grove Park Inn is something everyone should experience.

Whether day or night, the Sunset Terrace at the Grove Park Inn provides some of the best views in Asheville.

While it can be pretty pricey to stay there (especia




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Choosing Your First Multi-pitch Climb!

September 27, 2021 fmg-adminGuides' Tech Tips Rock Climbing Route Beta

We recently posted a photo of a party doing their first multi-pitch climb with us and had several calls from people wanting to do the same. While climbing your first multi-pitch climb with a guide is a great way to get started, not everyone wants to hire a guide; they would prefer to tackle their first mp climb on their own. With that in mind, we have some suggestions for how to choose your first multi-pitch climb because finding a route that is appropriate for a climber who is just starting to break into this terrain is a bit more complicated than finding a long, easy line: the YDS grade isn’t everything!

Following are some criteria to help you have a positive experience when you leave terra firma behind:

Easy Route Finding

Getting off route exposes the entire party to greater hazard. There may not be protection, the climbing could be much more difficult than anticipated, the consequence of a fall can increase significantly, and it wastes time (there are only so many hours of sunlight in a day).  Being able to easily follow a route saves time and frees up mental bandwidth to problem solve team protection and stance organization. It




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Unsponsored, Unaffiliated, Unbiased, and Unfiltered Gear (and Travel) Recommendations

September 14, 2021 fmg-adminGear Reviews Guides' Tech Tips Travel Recommendations and Tips

Climbing gear is great. FREE climbing gear is awesome! I mean, who doesn't love free gear? We all certainly do, but our guides also want to be able to make gear recommendations to you based on their personal favorites and not because they are sponsored by a particular company. With sponsorships and partnerships so ubiquitous in the climbing industry these days, it can be hard to know if someone making a recommendation "really" prefers a particular item or is perhaps making a decision that's influenced by their sponsorship. Sometimes you even see recommendations on a forum where the person answering says, "Even though I'm sponsored by ___________, I really do think their __________ (rope, shoes, helmet, etc) is the best." Really, I do. But how can you be sure?

Petey in his Misty Cadillac harness

Because of this dilemma, we as a company made a decision over a year ago to forgo sponsorships so we can allow our guides to recommend their favorite gear without bias. We give them a yearly gear allowance to purchase whatever climbing gear they want to try rather than requiring them to wear and promote a particular harness or brand of shoes or rope




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Simul-Rappelling: Is it Worth it?

May 18, 2021 fmg-adminGuides' Tech Tips Guiding Rock Climbing

Simul-rappelling is a technique that is touted as being a faster method of rappelling as a team of two. However, it comes with far more risk than the traditional rappel setup and requires several extra steps in order to mitigate that risk. A quick google search on simul-rappelling accidents will reveal several incidents that have occurred over the years including the more recent accident resulting in the tragic death of Brad Gobright. Read the accident report for Brad Gobright here. There is a way to simul-rappel safely which involves tying stopper knots into both ends of rope, using an autoblock backup below each climbers device, tethering each other together, and knowing without a doubt that both strands reach the next rappel station. So, is simul-rappelling worth doing for the sake of expediency?

After all the safety measures are in place, it can be argued that simul-rappelling is not any faster than a standard rappel and likely takes more time. Additionally, we’ve found that there are other methods of descent that are quicker and safer than simul-rappelling. One such method is the pre-rigged rappel, a method where everyone in t




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Train Locally, Climb Globally: The 5 C’s of Training

April 27, 2021 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Guides' Tech Tips The Guides' Climbing Adventures

Training. It’s a critical portion of any adventure, whether around the corner or across the world. We train to get our bodies and minds accustomed to the stresses and pressures of our destination, and in an ideal world, I would want to train as globally as I climb. That being said, work and family responsibility often take priority. Otherwise, I'd be on a permanent vacation to train!

I’m guiding Denali this summer with International Mountain Guides after having guided Rainier the last few summers, and I’ve been training all spring down here in North Carolina while guiding for FMG. We have an incredible resource in forests and public lands, and I use them to their fullest extent!  Here’s how I train locally to climb globally. I have five “Cs” that I use to focus my training.

First, I work CARDIO.  I run closed forest roads. They are a happy medium between full-on trail running and pounding pavement. I’ve found I can keep my heart rate closer to the aerobic thresholds that I want on forest roads than on trails. I’ll still run trails, for sure, and especially when I’m going for a longer, distance




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Beginning Trad Rack: What to Buy and What to Skip-2.0

December 1, 2020 fmg-adminGear Reviews Guides' Tech Tips Rock Climbing

A lot has changed since our original “Beginning Trad Rack: What to Buy and What to Skip” blog post in 2017. Black Diamond discontinued the much-loved C3 Camalots, updated the C4, discontinued the short-lived X4 line, and replaced it with a new line called the Z4, which is supposed to take advantage of the best features of the X4 but eliminate the floppiness so many people found difficult to deal with. Our guides have been putting these new cams through their paces since they were introduced earlier this year and have some updated recommendations for you based on their findings. 

Standard Rack

Cams: BD Z4 0.2; doubles of C4 0.3-3

Nuts: BD Stopper set #4-13

Set of Tricam Evos, black through brown plus violet and blue regular tricams

Minimalist (cheapest) Rack

Cams: BD Z4 0.2 and C4 0.3-3

Nuts: BD Classic Stopper set (#5-11)

Set of Tricam Evos, black through brown

High-End Standard Rack

Cams: BD Z4 0.2, doubles; C4 doubles 0.3-3 plus a 4 and 5

Nuts: BD Stopper set #4-13

Tricam black-brown Evos plus violet and blue regular tricams

Rationale for These Choices

Z4 vs. C4 (




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Sport Draws vs. Alpine Draws

January 14, 2020 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Guides' Tech Tips Rock Climbing

As a result of this video posted by Rock and Ice on their Weekend Whipper series, I have been getting lots of questions about what type of draws I use on sport climbs, sport draws or alpine draws.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdY1Ow0Q-Fo

Easy answer: sport draws. For the “why,” read below, but in the meantime, here is a list of the types of draws I carry for the different types of climbing I do:

Sport Climbing:

Petzl Spirit Draws (one extra from number of bolts on the pitch)

Trad Climbing:**

2-4 sport draws

2 over the shoulder slings (one carabiner)

2-4 alpine draws

**For a complete list of the gear I take trad climbing, see my post on trad racks.

Alpine Climbing:

1-2 sport draws

1-2 over the shoulder slings (one carabiner)

3-5 alpine draws 

Ice Climbing:

6-8 sport draws

2-3 alpine draws 

As with many aspects of climbing, the “why” choose one draw over another can be a bit confusing. Each has advantages and disadvantages, which I take into consideration when choosing what gear to carry. 

Let’s start with alpine draws. Most of us use dyneema slings and so




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Keeping the PSYCHE High!

September 19, 2018 fmg-adminRock Climbing The Guides' Climbing Adventures

Whether it’s rainy days on your weekend or too many overtime hours at the office, it can be a challenge to keep your psyche high for climbing and training for your next adventure.  At times I find myself lacking true motivation to head to the climbing gym or knock out a workout on the rock rings when I do not have a specific climbing objective in mind.

Having spent the past few days seeking refuge from the rain in my apartment, I found myself thinking of past trips to the Red River Gorge.  The endless corners and splitter cracks of all sizes never cease to provide plenty of adventure and excitement.  Flipping through my collection of photos from the Red, I could not help but get excited for the upcoming fall season.  My palms began to sweat as I thought of the grueling offwidths and splitter finger cracks that hide in the lush woods of the Daniel Boone National Forest.

If you find yourself lacking the psyche to get out and train, maybe these photos will give you that extra bit of motivation.   And as the heat of the summer slowly gives way to the cooler temps of the fall, I sure hope to see y’all back out at the Red River Gorge!!




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The Well-Dressed Figure Eight Knot: Start Hard, Finish Easy

July 17, 2018 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Guides' Tech Tips Rock Climbing

Why is a well-dressed figure eight knot even important? A messy eight will hold just as well as a neat one, so what's the big deal?  In climbing, the main reason most people tie in with a figure eight (and why the vast majority of climbing gyms require it) is because it is easy to recognize and therefore verify that it is tied correctly and will perform as expected. So dressing the figure eight is an important step in tying it as it will make it even easier to identify.

To properly dress the knot we can use a technique called start hard, finish easy. We start by pushing the standing part of the rope over while poking the working end through the hole this forms.

Once this step is complete, the working end only passes through the knot two more times. Both of these passes should be "easy." The video below illustrates this simple process: 

[embed]https://youtu.be/D_Fmb8C_gqo[/embed]




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So You Want to Hire a Rock Climbing Guide?…..(this is your guide to hiring a Guide)

May 29, 2018 fmg-adminGuiding Rock Climbing

Trying to hire a rock climbing guide? The process can be tricky and confusing. Why? The term “guide” itself is very loaded. Depending on the industry, it can have a variety of meanings the typical consumer might know nothing about but should. Fundamentally, a guide is a person who shares their knowledge/skills about a particular topic with another, presumably less-informed person; at their essence, they are teachers.  We seek them out for expertise we don’t have or for experiences we can’t have without them. Regardless of type, be it a city tour guide, rafting guide, hiking guide, climbing guide, fishing guide, mountain biking guide, dance or jujitsu instructor, they have some skill we are willing to pay for.

Given the premise that every consumer wants the biggest “bang for the buck,” how does one go about choosing the right guide? Among the factors to consider are riskiness of the endeavor, the guide’s education and training, reviews from both peers and clients, certifications if applicable, and cost. It’s the relative importance of each of these factors that determines which guide is best for a particular client.

[caption id=




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Linville Falls: The Story of a First Ascent

January 22, 2018 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing AMGA Courses The Guides' Climbing Adventures

[caption id="attachment_1413" align="alignright" width="400"] Photo: Halley Burleson[/caption]

When Anthony Dercole was a teenager surfing in sunny California, he could never have imagined one day scaling a frozen waterfall. How he got from the beach to bagging the first ascent of Linville Falls, renowned for having the highest volume of flow in the area, was really less improbable than it seems.

After moving to Western North Carolina in 2007, Anthony got a job at a now-closed gym that happened to have a climbing wall. Intrigued with climbing, he began hiking to different outdoor climbing areas in a quest to learn everything he could about the sport. As with many beginning climbers, Anthony made lots of decisions that he now is just happy didn't have bigger consequences.

It was a chance encounter with AMGA Certified Rock Guide Ron Funderburke, who was working as a Guide at Fox Mountain Guides at the time, that not only changed HOW Anthony climbed but also shaped his career. What first began as a mentor relationship with Ron resulted in Anthony  pursuing professional climbing training through the AMGA and ultimately getting a job as an Instruc




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Over-camming: Really a Problem?

August 27, 2017 fmg-adminRock Climbing

I overheard some friends teaching each other to lead climb the other day. They were doing a good job of managing safety by using a top-rope and having the climber mock lead. Then they said “ok the number one thing is don’t over-cam.” I hear this mode of thinking about over-camming a lot, even from seasoned instructors. If you look at this from a pure risk management standpoint, there is actually no good reason to encourage this behavior.

Camming angle stays the same throughout the range of the cam. On Black Diamond Camolots this angle is 15˚. The theoretical best angle would be 14 based on many folks geeking out in the labs.

So the only real reason to encourage someone to under-cam would be to prevent pieces from becoming stuck in the rock. This of course could result in the leader being scared to overcam, taking a fall, ripping gear and becoming injured.

I teach students to have a 90˚ angle or less with the bottom of the cam lobes.




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Beginning Trad Climbing Rack: What to Buy and What to Skip***

April 4, 2017 fmg-adminGear Reviews Rock Climbing

***Updated here, December 2020.

Beginning climber trying to put together a trad climbing rack?
I often get asked about what first pieces of trad gear the beginning climber should purchase. Most new climbers are not looking to go out and spend $3000 on a full trad rack and want to know what pieces make the most sense to buy first. So here are some of my suggestions on what you might want to purchase first.
Minimalist (cheapest) Rack:
Cams:
BD C4 0.5 to 3
BD X4 0.2 to 0.4
One set of nuts (skip the micros) so BD #5 to #11
One set of Tricam Evo’s Black through brown
Standard Rack:
Cams:
BD C4 0.5 to 4 Doubles 0.5 to 3
BD X4 0.1 to 0.4
BD C3 0.1 to 0.3
Set of Nuts #4 to #13
Set of Tricam Evo’s Black through Brown

High-End Standard Rack:
Cams:
BD C3 0,1,2
BD X4 .3 and .4 Doubles of .4
BD C4 .5 and .75 Doubles of both
BD UL 1 to 4     Doubles 1 to 3
Set of Nuts #4 to #13
Set of Tricam Evo’s Black through Brown

From here you can expand into all kinds of specialized protection like big bros, offsets, and many other size specific and placement specific protection based on your goals for climbing. I have found that the high-end standard rac




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A Week in the Life of My Deuter Speedlite

January 13, 2017 fmg-adminGear Reviews Rock Climbing The Guides' Climbing Adventures

I like versatility. I love it when my gear can transition between many tasks and suit each one with ease. In fact, as a guide, I NEED my gear to be able to fill multiple roles. This single best piece of gear I have that fits this bill is the Deuter Speedlite 20. To iIlustrate just how versatile it is, consider how it performed as I got ready for a climbing trip to Las Vegas recently.

Saturday - Sunday: I spend my weekends guiding guests who have waited all week to get out into the mountains and enjoy a carefree day of rock climbing in Western North Carolina. Often this is a multi-pitch, day and I'm meeting my guests in the Linville Gorge. Our objective is Table Rock on Saturday and the remote Amphitheater on Sunday. I put my harness on with my “Guide’s Rack” on my waist. In my Speedlite, I have climbing shoes and a chalk bag, first aid kit, 2L water bladder, single rack of protection, and an extra layer or two. Inside the small, quick access pocket, I put in my lunch, snacks and headlamp. On the outside, using the compression straps, I secure my helmet neatly on the outside. This pack goes from a full 20+L and compresses to less than 10 on




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What to Bring Cragging: Trad Climbing

December 13, 2016 fmg-adminGear Reviews Rock Climbing The Guides' Climbing Adventures

In the time I have spent rock climbing, I have really loved going to crags that rely on the use of traditional gear. What I love most is the type of terrain and the areas that can be visited. You can challenge yourself on hardstuff or climb really fun, longer, moderate terrain too. Multi-pitching allows you to get higher off the ground, giving a greater feeling of exposure. It usually involves climbing with a partner, and you can develop strong bonds with those you share a rope with. Crack climbing has been my favorite traditional pursuit. I love the art of jamming! Cracks form striking natural features that catch the eye first. It’s an obvious path to the top, and they usually protect really well.

Trad climbing is gear intensive, requires a higher level of technical skill, and is a more thoughtful type of climbing. These places are rich with climbing history, can feel more adventurous, bold, and at times (especially on slabs, or here in North Carolina) downright scary. I recommend getting guidebooks because they are a great source for this information. They can be expensive, but they make a great souvenir, and help avoid unnecessary epics. I




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Jolly, the Extreme Elf

December 5, 2016 fmg-adminThe Guides' Climbing Adventures Uncategorized

What’s it like being an Elf and working for Santa?”

This is the question that everyone is eager to have answered. Well I hate to burst any bubbles but I’m not actually an elf!!!! Nope, 100% human here. It’s pretty obvious from my height and lack of pointed ears.

“Imposter!!!”

No, think not. I’m the real deal. I’ve been training Elves with the SPG-E2 for two amazing years! The South Pole Group - Entry and Escape, specialized in contained structures and escape. SPG-E2 deals with all the housing units that don’t have chimney access or common access, such as hotels; apartment buildings; condominiums; and airports. They also specialize in escapes.

“What do you mean escapes?”

Well not everything always goes to plan and sometimes during a package drop, an elf or Santa will require assistance or extraction. I was fortunate to find the South Pole Group, and be offered an instructor position teaching an amazing group of talented jolly people. My past military experience translated into functional methods for entry and extraction as well as the understanding that secrets must be kept at all costs.

“South Pole? Wait.




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More Tools, Fewer Rules

November 3, 2016 fmg-adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Guiding Rock Climbing

It is easy to have an idea that is “black and white."  Concepts are easily digestible when there are rules to abide by.

“ALWAYS do it THIS way! NEVER do it THAT way!”

This is especially true given the mortal danger that is inherent in mountain sports. Rules often represent security to us thereby allowing us to relax a bit and enjoy the dance of climbing. These rules however, are concrete and we are not likely to rearrange or adapt them with changing contexts. Principles, however, can be sorted in different ways and allow us some flexibility when the environment throws us a curve ball. I tend to recommend a PRINCIPLE-based approach to climbing instead of one dominated by RULES.

There is a good reason why we learn anchoring fundamentals with acronyms such as NERDSS or ERNEST. They are systems of principles that should be met, and not a formula or prescribed method for the perfect anchor in all situations. The real world is not a laboratory, and no two environments are congruent. If you are only climbing single pitch routes using a sling shot top rope system, you will likely use a well built anchor on two bolts, trees ,or multiple well pla




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The Flat Overhand, Not the EDK…

October 18, 2016 fmg-adminGuiding Rock Climbing

There has been much controversy over the flat overhand knot, otherwise know as EDK (Euro Death Knot) for rappelling in the media lately. Much of the controversy has to do with the “rolling” of the knot, and most of the time it is actually the flat figure eight that everyone is talking about. I have recently even seen the flat figure eight called the other version of the EDK, and now there is an article called “A Better EDK." These of course are published by well-known American climbing magazines.

So lets first get the names of the knots correct.

This is the Flat Overhand:

This is the Flat Figure Eight:

This is the EDK:

Notice there is no picture…

Because we should stop calling any knot a Euro Death Knot, but if you must, use that term to describe the flat figure eight knot.

This is the knot being referred to as a “A better EDK”:

It is really easy for me to give you instances of when and when not to use these knots for the weekend warrior climber.

Flat Figure 8 should be used, never.

“A better EDK,"  never.

Use a flat overhand when rappelling.

Since we only should be using one of these knots, let's talk about the p




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Changing of Season

September 28, 2016 fmg-adminRock Climbing The Guides' Climbing Adventures Uncategorized

As climbers, we all know those magical months of Sendtember and Rocktober. The temperatures begin to shift into pleasant ranges and we start to spend more time on our projects and trying to squeeze in as many pitches in the day before the glorious fading to dark which always seems to come just a bit too soon. The joys of climbing in the fall are always something I look forward to each year. This year I have plenty of routes on my tick list that I hope to send or at least make some progress on.

With the changing of the season from a risk management perspective this is the time of year, I start to change how I pack for a day out and how I plan for the day. The earlier sunsets remind me to change out my headlamp batteries and have spares in my pack in case I decide that one more pitch by headlamp is worth it. Adding extra layers and a warm hat to my multi-pitch pack also just in case my leader gets off route on that last pitch and we have a longer than intended night. In addition to those things when it comes to warmth I plan for some extra food to keep the furnace stoked. Other items I may try to find room for may include a good size trash bag, th




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Bumblebee Buttress: A Linville Gorge Adventure

September 22, 2016 fmg-adminRock Climbing Route Beta The Guides' Climbing Adventures

With the recent lifting of Peregrine Falcon closures (http://carolinaclimbers.org/closures/2016lifted.html) , cool temperatures in the Linville Gorge, and a willing partner, I decided to venture to the rarely traveled North Carolina Wall to sample a classic NC moderate, Bumblebee Buttress (5.8).

I have heard many stories of BB, and it’s intimidating reputation. Imagine the classic movement of White Lightning on Table Rock with the remoteness and position of the Amphitheater. Put those two things together and you have the truly classic climbing that is Bumblebee Buttress. Here is a detailed description of the route with some personal accounts and suggestions of each pitch. As always, please use this information in conjunction with a guide book and other sources like Mountain Project and trip reports.

What to Bring:

 Pack: I prefer to tackle multi-pitch objectives in Linville by placing all of my things comfortably into my 32 Liter Deuter Guide Lite and then, upon reaching the top of the cliff, switch out with my Deuter Speed Lite 20 for decent and climbing.

Rack: Full set of cams from single set BD C3’s 00-2, BD C4’s .3-4 with d




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Rappel Extension Options

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminGuiding Rock Climbing

When a technical descent requires a rappel, choosing to add an extension is often beneficial for adding safety and efficiency. There are a variety of methods for creating rappel extensions, each one carrying advantages and disadvantages making use of materials and application important. With this in mind we will explore some of the ways to extend rappels while looking at the nuances of the individual methods.

First, lets take a look at the girth-hitching methods. The girth hitch with anchor attachments has come under scrutiny in the last decade due to it causing weakening of the material used, so it is best to use nylon and stay away from super static, ultra-high-molecular-weight polyurethane, (UHMWPE) materials like dyneema for this application.

This “girth hitched master-point” method makes a very obvious master-point for the rappel device and attachment to the anchor. Once you start to descend you clip the anchoring carabineer to your belay loop to make the system redundant while on rappel. The downside to this method is you should use nylon and the tether is not all that long as tying the master point eats up a lot of material.

This




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Nature Deficit Disorder?

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminGuiding Rock Climbing

Nature Deficit Disorder! Really? There has been so much great conversation in the press the last several years about the value of kids getting outside more often and I love the conversations it has sparked. Do I think we need another set of letters to throw around describing behaviors that worry us as parents? No, not really. I love taking people climbing, often for me those days are more rewarding than sending a new route from my personal tick list, I suppose that is one reason I enjoy my work with Fox Mountain Guides. The interactions between family members while out climbing are one of my favorite aspects of this work. Watching a child belay a parent and seeing the parent trust that child when they take a fall or get lowered down from a high ledge is inspiring for me. Siblings pushing one another and building each other up to tackle a harder climb or give the crux one more try are other moments  always grand to witness. When young people engage in climbing I believe that some amazing things can happen.

A concept in psychology that often gets discussed is Internal versus External Locus of Control. Being too rigidly entrenched on either side i




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Ice Climbing

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAlpine & Ice Climbing AMGA Courses Guiding

As the summer guiding season comes to an end, I finally have some time to write. Also my thoughts begin to wander towards what is to come. Most rock climbers are getting excited about the fall temps with drier air. Fiction will be plentiful and many projects will fall to those who have been training over the past few humid months. But for me, I am more excited about the cold temps that tend to follow the cool of the fall. I cannot wait for winter to get here.

I thoroughly enjoy climbing in the winter, particularly the ice climbing. I have been ice climbing since 2008 when I took a trip to Ouray, Colorado. There I was blown away at how much fun climbing frozen water can be. I loved it so much that upon my return to Illinois, I began scheming of ways to go back to Ouray. The plans were never put into action and I remained in Illinois for a few more years. During those years, I did begin to purchase boots, crampons, and ice tools. That same winter, the weather was cold enough to form some of the waterfalls at Jackson Falls into ice climbs.

The next winter I did my first ice leads in North Carolina and in New Hampshire. I was hooked. That next wint




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AMGA SPI Student

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAMGA Courses Guiding Rock Climbing

In Spring 2016 Zach Silberman participated in the AMGA Single Pitch Instructor Course with Fox Mountain Guides. Zach was a great student, and he documented much of his experience. Here is rare glimpse into the day to day insights and experiences of an aspiring single pitch instructor:

Day 1

Today we ventured to the base of Looking Glass, South Side. After a long but modest hike, we set up at the base of a slabbed out 5.10, a couple moderate crack climbs, and another climb that Ron selected to demonstrate the difference between leading a lead and instructing a lead.

Lesson 1: Organize the Locker Room.

Ron gave us a quick rundown of professionalism at the crag and to make sure clients understand the process.

Why wear a helmet?
How and where do I poop?
How do I belay?
What is a back up belay?

After the quick chat, he laced up and talked us through the climb to point out key cruxes and demonstrated proper hand, foot, and cam placement.

Once setting up a top rope for us to climb, Ron led us through the history of belaying. Beginning with the elusive butt belay, then the Munter Hitch, followed by the Air Traffic Controller (ATC) and




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Book Review of Training for the New Alpinism by Steve House

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Gear Reviews

Recently, Patagonia Books published Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete by Steve House and Scott Johnston. Constantly seeking to better myself as a climber, I could not resist the title. I have read Mark Twight’s Extreme Alpinism: Climbing Light, Fast, and High cover-to-cover numerous times. At the time of publication, it was widely considered a template for cutting-edge alpinism involving structured physical training and unconventional techniques on next-level climbs. House and Johnston’s new book appeared to be a worthy successor to Twight’s title, and it certainly proved so on the first read.

The first thing I noticed when I got the book was its size; this thing is BIG. The author’s choice of the word “manual” for the title was clearly intentional. The book is textbook-sized and organized like one. Like any good textbook, though, the material is presented in an extremely accessible manner. The writing style utilizes clear, concise, and palatable word choice. It addresses complex topics in a way that allows for comprehension while avoiding oversimplification as well as unnecessary details. The text al




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Ice Climbing: “A Leader’s Game”

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Guiding

Ice climbing is one of the essential tools for alpine climbing. Moving efficiently across mixed and ice terrain is a must to be efficient in the mountains. Ice climbing as a sport itself has exploded over the past ten years. There are now “ice fests” all across the country, and many folks attend these, take clinics, and try out all the new exciting gear.

This year in New Hampshire (2016), Fox Mountain Guides offered its first ever Advanced Ice Course, with the main focus on leading ice. In this course we talk about the seriousness of the leads and how ice climbing isn’t like rock climbing in that falling is not an accepted part of leading. We looked at videos, talked about what went wrong and how to avoid these problems.

By the time we put our guests on the sharp end, they tend to style WI3+/4-. The reason: they understand they can’t fall. We teach them to be very methodical and to move with the confidence of an unroped ascent. They understand what the risks are and accept them before they leave the ground. I can teach someone who is reasonably athletic to climb WI4 by the end of a day. As they follow me up a climb, they can use my pick




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FMG Summer Camp 2014 Recap

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminGuiding Rock Climbing

Our first summer camp of the season was a great success! Campers started this exciting week with a quick session at the Nose Area of Looking Glass on arrival day, which prepared them for some serious crushing at the South Face on Monday. Taking a break from ropes, they pushed themselves on the boulders at Rumbling Bald Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday campers covered hundreds of feet rock multi-pitch climbing at Looking Glass and Table Rock. Camper Cathy Kramer even got to lead the first pitch of the "Cave Route" at Table Rock! Camp ended with a fun day of top roping at Rumbling Bald on Friday where campers tried hard on climbs like "Frosted Flake."

Regular Camp B with Ron

Sunday started what would become a trend for the week- water soloing, or climbing ropeless on boulders overhanging swimming holes. Campers' incentive not to fall was the icy water below! Monday and Tuesday camp went top roping at the North Side of Looking Glass and at Cedar Rock. At Cedar Rock, camper Davis picked "Glass Dancer" for Ron's instructor challenge- an opportunity for campers to choose any route they want to see an instructor climb. Ron took the rope to the top an




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Whiteside Mountain Ice Topo Map

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAlpine & Ice Climbing

With ice season in full swing here in North Carolina, I've been spending a lot of time sinking my picks into the frozen stuff at Whiteside Mountain. With fickle ice conditions in the Southeast, it can be hard to know when the ice is in. But with ice climbing beta so hard to come by, it can also be challenging to know where the ice is in.  I thought I would rectify this by producing the first complete, publicly available topo map of Whiteside Mountain, NC, where the ice is frequently great and there is plenty of it to choose from.  Single pitch or multipitch, moderate ice slabs or overhanging mixed projects--there's a little bit of everything at Whitesides.  If you'd like the personalized tour, book a day with one of our guides.  Or, if you've got a handle on southern ice but would like to try your hand at some crystalline waterfalls a bit further afield, check out our full bevvy of ice climbing programs in New Hampshire.




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Patagonia Trip Report

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Rock Climbing The Guides' Climbing Adventures

In November 2013, Derek DeBruin, Kevin Shon, and Karsten Delap traveled to Argentina to attempt a new route on the east face of Cerro San Lorenzo. San Lorenzo is located in central Patagonia, north of Chaltén in the Santa Cruz province. Entrance to the southern reaches of the Argentine portion of the mountain is gained through Parque Nacional Perito Moreno.

The trio began the trek via the Rio Lacteo Valley on November 15 with enough time and provisions for approximately 8 to 10 days while waiting for a weather window. After 5 days camped in the morainal talus near the head of Glaciar Lacteo, the group experienced only poor weather, predominantly freezing rain and snow with extreme winds.

Finally, a morning of fair skies led to a brief 12-hour weather window. This was not enough time to attempt a route on San Lorenzo’s approximately 5,000 foot east face, but did provide an opening for climbing on the agujas of nearby Cerro Penitentes. The team completed a first ascent of the northernmost pillar of Cerro Penitentes at an elevation of 2211 meters (7,254 feet). The pillar included approximately 80 feet of 5.7 climbing atop approximately 5 kilom




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Early Season Ice Gear Thoughts

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Guiding

Thank you nature, there's a chill in the air. Sweaty season is over. I'm putting on a light jacket in the morning and that means ice season is on its way.

What kind of gear should you let dry by a fire after a great day of ice climbing? I asked the Fox Mountain Guides and below is a summary of answers to some questions from a client joining us for the upcoming New Hampshire ice trip.

Leashes, tethers, or nada?

Nada is the most common answer. Leashes are handcuffs. I admit to dropping a tool near my belaying son last year though and plan to get tethers for multi-pitch terrain where a tool loss would be a major problem.

Adzes, hammers, or nothing?

Hammers on both tools. Less fear of severe face lacerations. A hammer to hammer pick setting can be good for the nerves when things get scary on lead. The answers from guides who visit alpine terrain remind us that an adze can be handy for carving out steps,bollards and platforms.

Mono point or dual point?

Dual. Mono points are well liked for the most technical ice but two point crampons were the most frequent answer. Some serious efficiency was mentioned however by using mono points to select alr




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Where’s That Fox?

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAlpine & Ice Climbing Guiding Rock Climbing The Guides' Climbing Adventures

Congratulations to Karen Peress for correctly identifying The South Face of the Petit Grepon and winning a new Black Diamond X4!!




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Ron Funderburke takes over as the AMGA Single Pitch Ins. Discipline Coordinator

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAMGA Courses Guiding Rock Climbing

Fox Mountain Guides Head guide Ron Funderburke took over the American Mountain Guides Single Pitch Instructor Discipline Coordinator position on Monday. This position puts Ron in charge of the direction of the program as well as the training for all the AMGA SPI providers across the country. Ron's extensive experience instructing in single pitch terrain as well as his back ground in teaching helped him secure this position. Fox Mountain Guides is excited for Ron and as always values his leadership to keep us on the cutting edge of guiding and instuction in the United States and the world. Here is Ron's statement to the AMGA membership:

With utmost excitement, I am pleased to accept the post as Discipline Coordinator for the AMGA SPI Program. The program has enjoyed some unprecedented successes since it's inception in 2008, and that is a credit to the excellent students, instructors, providers, and trainers. My fervent hope is that everyone out there is still as invested as I am. The front lines of American climbing instruction have always been the single pitch crags, and single pitch instruction is the face of our guides association. That was tr




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Tyrollean Makes the Red River Gorge SPI Assessment a Go!

July 21, 2016 foxmountain_adminAMGA Courses Guiding Rock Climbing

The AMGA Single Pitch Instructor assessment that was just taught in the Red River Gorge was a full-conditions course.

Find out More about our AMGA SPI instructor programs.




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