A new tool for climbers

  • Sharon Wootton / Outbound Columnist
  • Friday, December 8, 2000 9:00pm
  • Life

Climbing frozen waterfalls is a challenge: It’s cold, it’s damp, and the fall is straight down.

Cascade Crags in Everett has taken out the discomfort of training on ice with what may be the only “ice wall” with what may be the only interior “ice wall” in the Northwest.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Mike Palmer. “You can use real ice tools and crampons. You can practice putting in ice screws in a material mimicking the ice.”

Cascade Crag employees put the wall up themselves with custom-made foam-fabricated panels from Mukilteo Ram Technology.

The panels can be replaced as they become worn out.

“It’s the closest you can get to a frozen waterfall and you don’t have ice falling on you,” Palmer said.

Climbers can learn to swing the tools and use crampons by actually kicking in a little.

“What’s nice about it is it teaches you to be delicate. You swing too hard with a tool it can actually get stuck and you have to work hard to get it out.”

On dry-tool routes a practicing climber just hooks the tools into the wall.

“Here you can get a feel for the different equipment and how to compress your swing.”

For more information on the “ice wall,” call Palmer at c 425-258-3431.

  • Having railed a time or two about Forest Service trail fees, I knew it was only a matter of time before the Washington state Parks Commission would move on a day-use parking fee.

    That time is now.

    And no, I don’t feel better that this state is the last mainland Western state to capitulate on this issue.

    At 1 p.m. Dec. 14, the state parks and recreation commission will hold a special meeting at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore (14445 Juanita Drive NE) to discuss charging a day-use fee to, as the rationale goes, better maintain and improve facilities in the system.

    The decision will take into account the revenues gained, collection costs, public acceptance and policymakers’ views.

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