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The Climbing Club • View topic - Mt. Matier - NW Face "Attempt"

The Climbing Club

at the University of Washington
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:36 pm 
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Longshanks
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Location: Denver


As a side note for the club:
Grace had some significant problems getting the new(ish) strap-on Vasak crampons from the club to stay on her feet. I think we ought to do some testing, and if this is a general problem, retire them. Has anyone else had this problem? The last thing we need is an injury or fatality due to club owned gear failure. The binding seemed secure and the crampon well fit to me, yet they still popped off her heels.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 3:58 pm 
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The Shepherd
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At least the mountain (probably) isn't going anywhere if you want to give it a shot again. Sounds like you had a good time anyway. The shot of the waterfalls next to the glacier is great. I don't know if that was the kind of terrain you would need to ascend, but it did look like quite a challenge.

As for the crampons, I have the fully strap on Vasaks. I haven't ever had a problem with them coming off, even when kicking hard climbing vertical ice. Perhaps it is an issue with using them on her type of boot, although that seems kind of unlikely as I have used them successfully on two different pairs of boots. Are you sure the little bar underneath was set on the right hole?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:08 pm 
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experienced hiker of the climbing club
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I had the same problem with my new crampons and it was a bar adjustment issue. Still need to spend a little time fiddling with them as they have a tendency to sound "hollow" when kicking steps. Also, not all crampons work equally well with all boots...

The area looks downright spectacular, even if you didn't get up the face. I'm disappointed that there appears to be no bushwhacking in Canada. :P


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:45 pm 
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Dr. Crevasse
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:11 pm 
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Longshanks
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What, this doesn't count?

Image

If it weren't for the trail, the bushwack would have been monumental. The density of brush, including Devil's Club was pretty high off-trail.

As for the crampons, I think it might just be the small size of her boot changing the strap geometry... I certainly believe we had them adjusted to the right size, but maybe I'll do some more experimenting with it.

Oh, and this is the route. Up the ice face at center-right:
Image


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:36 pm 
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Cap'n Wingspan
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Is it possible that crampons, like AT bindings, also come in sizes that fit a range of shoe sizes?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:03 pm 
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giving spoon
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Nice try GO. Matier was my first 'mountaineering' peak that I climbed in my Mountaineering course (we also climbed Slalok - the peak just to the right of the glacier on the way up). I remember seeing the NW face it looked pretty nice and consistent face. The glacier going down to the Joffre Lakes looks way more broken up then when I was there two years ago (to the day). On my trip we climbed up on the glaciers from the North via the Anniversary Glacier, and I can tell you if you stray off the trails you are in some serious brush country.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:24 pm 
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UW Climber
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That looks like some ice there. Clip-on crampons are the ticket for that, much less vibration and they won't come off.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:00 am 
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Longshanks
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Evan, crampons are supposed to be "one-size fits all". As far as I'm aware, the only exception is that you can buy longer or shorter extension bars for extreme cases.

On further examination, I've figured out why the Petzl Vasaks don't work so well with Grace's boots. There is a 5th post right at the heel which keeps you from really sizing them properly. As a result there is 1/2" + of side-side slippage in the binding between the two normal heel posts... which is enough to tear right out when you twist wrong. The BD Contact Strap crampons she normally uses (10 point) do not have this "feature" and fit much more securely. The heel strap on the BDs is also much lower than that on the Petzls, mating with the heel welt of the boot. Overall I think the BD binding is just more versatile and more secure. I know from experience that it works well on a variety of large boots as well as small. Something to keep in mind when/if we buy more crampons in the future, and possibly something we should consider when lending them out. Perhaps put a minimum boot-size rule in place?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:02 am 
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giving spoon
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I have to buy extender bars for my crampons - I think most only fit up to about size 12-13.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:20 pm 
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The Pub Czar
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:36 am 
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UW Climber
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I would suggest contacting Petzl and explaining the issues to them. Maybe they have a solution (such as removing the offending tab). I've two pair of Vasaks but with other binding systems so I haven't run into this problem.

http://www.petzl.com/us/corp/contact_info

NW Face of Matier is a fun climb. I did it about 7 years ago with UWCC'ers Rex Andrew and Jule Gust. On top we ran into Don Serl and Ade Miller (). I wish I had known who they were at the time.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:40 am 
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Location: Fremont
Sounds like you were attempting a harder approach; the lower Matier Glacier is intimidating. Here is a TR from our climb of Matier via the Anniversary/Matier Glaciers: http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopi ... ght=matier , done from Keith's Hut. Ice climbing techniques were used going up, though all we encountered was steep snow. Great trip.

PS: Joffre Provincial Park.


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