Getting off the ground: A beginnerís guide to East Vail mixed climbing
January 31, 2008 —
East Vail is known throughout Colorado and North America as home to some great mixed ice climbing. For those unfamiliar with the term, mixed climbing involves scaling routes that offer both rock and ice climbing moves in crampons and with ice tools. Although it sounds unnatural and takes some getting used to, mixed climbing has become extremely popular in recent years, so much so that some climbers spend more time climbing rock with their tools than ice.
Arriving in East Vail to try a mixed route can be a real smack down on the psyche and physical self without a little guidance. First, there are numerous bolted mixed routes in East Vail, second until a few years ago some of the hardest mixed routes in the United States were located here. Amphibian M9 WI5+/6, Red Bull & Vodka M8+ (2 pitches) and Fatman & Robin M9 are just a few of the routes that would be a crushing first mixed route to try. Like anything, start easy and build from there. Jack Robertsí book Colorado Ice highlights many of the mixed routes in the area although itís not all inclusive as new routes go up each year.
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