Tag Archives: ice tools

Lara Croft is an Ice Climber Now

Lara Croft is an Ice Climber Now

Lara Croft: Bow Shooting Ice Climber

I saw this large display ad for a new version of Tomb Raider while shopping over the weekend, and I just can’t help but to share it with you all. Check out those fancy ice climbing tools! Apparently Lara Croft is an ice climber now. She’s kicking ass and taking names, with her flare, and her bow and arrow, and her ice tools, which appear to be DMM Rebels, and both of which has an adze and neither of which has a hammer. Is she afraid of gashing her face open with an adze if one of those tools pops loose? Heck no. She’s totally that confident. Do you see a harness anywhere? No. You do not. Lara Croft free solos everything, always, because she’s a total freakin’ badass. She’s the Alex Honnold of ice.

What’s that? Where’s her helment you ask? Pshaw! Give me a break. She doesn’t even wear gloves! Of course the way that second tool dangles from her belt by the pommel with the pick swinging about at her knee marks her as a total NOOB. We’ll forgive her for that though, because shooting a bow and arrow while “on the sharp end” isn’t exactly easy. She deserves a lot of credit for that. Heck, I wouldn’t even try.

Actually, looking at some screen grabs from the game, Lara is a much more sane ice climber than the display ad suggests. Look at the image below. She’s got a harness, and a rope, and if you look closely, also a few ice screws. Of course why she’s tied to that other climber suicide-pact style with a 30mm container ship mooring rope is certainly a valid question. It looks like she’s about to take a whipper and I doubt that that other climber can hold the fall. It probably helps, in a situation like that, to have extra lives.

Lara Croft Suicide Pact.

Lara Croft Suicide Pact.

Lara Croft Carries Ice Screws.

Lara Croft Carries Ice Screws.

Location: Your XBOX, apparently.

Update: Sept. 29, 2015

Special thanks to Eddie Ferrer for sharing this Tomb Raider game demo YouTube Video, where Lara, with the climbing rope attached to a gear loop on her harness, takes a factor 2 fall onto the other climber who is not anchored, but merely attached to the ice with is tools. Awesome!

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Top Rope Anchor Cluster

Wim on Pitch 1 of The Crown Jewel.

Wim on Pitch 1 of The Crown Jewel.

This entry borrows a chapter from the book “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.” In early December (2013) we had a very rare and sustained cold snap in the Pacific Northwestern U.S. It was cold enough to freeze some of the many waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge that divides Washington and Oregon, and all of my Portland area climbing pals were going ape shit crazy with all of the ice climbing opportunities. I managed to get out on two days myself, and even had the rare opportunity to climb the Crown Jewel below Crown Point on the Oregon side of the river. It’s two pitches of WI3. That’s my buddy Wim leading pitch 1 in the photo above. Not the gnarliest thing in the world, mind you, but you have to appreciate how rare it is for it to ever be ‘in’. Moreover, it’s far more exciting than a typical WI3 because it’s wet and warm and degrading as fast as it formed, leaving a lurking, spring-like fear that the whole works could de-laminate from the rock and send you hurling down the cliff.

Ah, fine and well, you might be saying, but where’s my jive-ass climbing anchor! Patience. We’re getting there.

When we were gearing up at the base of the route two stoners arrived. I call them stoners, because they roasted bowl after bowl of weed while they contemplated climbing the thing. They were rock climbers without much ice climbing experience, and I don’t know where they got it, but they were armed with positively antique ice climbing gear: straight shafted tools, pound in ice pitons, and some early Jeff Lowe ice pioneer era screws. Eventually, and much to my relief, they decided leading the thing probably wasn’t wise. So they asked me if I’d trail their rope up so they could top rope pitch 1. There’s a set of bolts at the top of pitch one. “Sure,” I said, “No problem.” And that’s what I did.

While I belayed pitch 2 from the top of pitch 1, Stoner guy #1 arrives and starts to reconfigure his top rope anchor to redirect it to the center of the ice. He reworked everything, from the bolts on. And here are the results:

Jive-Ass Sliding-X Top Rope Ice Climbing Anchor

Jive-Ass Sliding-X Top Rope Ice Climbing Anchor

He reconfigured a statically equalized, redundant anchor into this sliding x. Not ideal. No limiter knots, so not redundant. But I’ve seen worse. This isn’t what I’m here to share.

By the way, notice the ratty-tatty American Death Triangle rappel set up behind it! I should have cut that crap off, but I’m ashamed to say it didn’t occur to me at the moment for some reason.

Redirected Jive-Ass Ice Climbing Top Rope Anchor runs across the back of my calves...

Redirected Jive-Ass Ice Climbing Top Rope Anchor runs across the back of my calves…

So here is where the fancy redirected top rope ice climbing anchor gets interesting. The belay ledge is barely a ledge–maybe a foot width to stand on. Stoner guy runs the rope along the back of my calves. Unfortunately I didn’t notice this until he weighted the system to get lowered and the rope came tight on my leg.

Jive-Ass Redirect Rube Goldberg Contraption.

Jive-Ass Redirect Rube Goldberg Contraption.

Here’s the redirect anchor. One fairly solid screw, and one totally jive-ass back up screw. Stoner guy ground the screw in until he hit rock (oops!), and decided to call it good. It’s kinda redundant, right? Hopefully that other screw is bomber. I argued with him while he constructed this mess (and while simultaneously trying to concentrate on my belaying). I was able to convince him to clip the hanger on the jive-ass screw rather than sling the exposed shaft.

Once the system came tight on my leg, I complained to Stoner guy #2 when he got to the top of his lap. And he and Stoner guy #1 suggested I just step over onto the other side of the rope. I imagined an anchor failure where I get cheese-sliced off the wall and decided against it. Thus the rope sawed back and forth on the back of my legs until I was eventually able to climb away from the station.

Good times.

Location: Crown point, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, USA