Minnesota’s World Cup Training Structure

This past weekend my sister Kendra and I createdFile_000(2) a UIAA regulation height speed ice climbing structure.  The structure is 32 feet high, 3 feet wide, and around 600 lbs.

We constructed the wood structure on the ground and hauled it into place using a 7:1 pulley system.  Hauling the structure into the tree was definitely the most challenging part of the project.  We are already training on the structure for the 2016 Ice Climbing World Cup and can’t wait for the first competition this December in Bozeman Montana and then in South Korea, France, Italy, Romania and Russia!

Carter screwing on the horizontal slats
Kendra testing out the structure with a speed lap

Climb UP!

Kendra climbing a 5.8 trad route at Silver Mountain.

This past weekend Kendra and I traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the Climb UP! Event hosted by Down Wind Sports. Friday afternoon we joined several locals from Marquette at the AAA Walls for a cleanup and some climbing.  The AAA walls is a collection of a couple 30-40 foot walls that offer sport and trad climbing.  The cleanup went really fast, so we got in lots of climbing!

On Saturday we met about 40 other people for a day of climbing at Silver Mountain which is located at the western base of the Keweenaw peninsula. Silver Mountain is a gem among midwest climbing.  The rock quality is fantastic, the routes are varied and interesting, and there are multipitch routes!

On Sunday, Kendra and I along with our friends Jon Jugenheimer and Erol went to Norwich Ledge.  It is an obscure cliff that is 200 feet tall and maybe a mile long with only 4 documented routes!  Kendra and i had never been there, but Arrow had hiked into the top before, and Jon had scoped the cliff from the road.  It was going to be a day of adventure!
After a little bit of scrambling around at the top of the cliff, we found the rap anchors and rappelled to the bottom with a single 60m rope and had several feet of rope to spare.  We scoured the cliff for the best lines to climb.  Jon and Erol decided on the route Book of Saturdays.  Kendra and I decided to try to put up a new route  a little left of the center of the cliff.  Our prospective route didn’t turn out too well.  There wasnt very much gear to be had, and I wasn’t willing to run it out as far as was needed, so I backed of and we searched around for another climb.  Eventually we decided on an easy looking route near the southern end of the cliff.  It ended up being a two pitch  5.7 R with some fun moves and refreshing but moderate runoutes. When we were near the top of the cliff, Jon and Erol came over to find us having successfully climbed their route.  What an amazing cliff!  It has some height to it which can be difficult to find in the midwest, has beautiful scenery, and a remote feeling due to the lack of climbing traffic.

We named the route the Stritch Route in honor of the easy adventure climbs from the early 20th century.

Carter Creating the First Pitch of The Stritch Route
Carter Creating the First Pitch of The Stritch Route

On the way home Kendra and I stopped at some lakes and collected water samples for the ASC Microplastics project.

Camp Photon Carabiner Review

The Camp Photon  Wire Straight Gate is a great all around lightweight biner.  Almost all manufacturers offer a lightweight wiregate carabiner that hovers somewhere around the 1 oz (28.34g) mark.  Where the Photon stands apart from the other 1 oz carabiners is with gate clearance.  The Photon Wire Straight Gate has a massive 27mm gate clearance.  This makes clipping the rope a breeze!

The Photon Wire Straight Gate is a great biner for multiple purposes.  It is a fantastic biner for use on alpine draws, and for racking cams.  It would also be great on the rope side of a quickdraw, but the bent gate version of the Photon Wire might be a slightly better choice.

The Photon Wire Straight Gate is offered in 8 different colors in case you are looking for a carabiner to rack your cams on.  The Photon Wire is also offered as a bent gate which has a gate clearance of 29mm and only comes in one color which is silver.

The Bottom Line:

The Photon wire Straight Gate is a great biner for any application that you might use a wire gate carabiner for.  It especially stands out when a large gate clearance is is needed, such as ice climbing.  At $7.95 a piece, it is a great wire gate biner that won’t break the bank.

For more information and to purchase the Camp Photon, please visit the Camp USA web page.
Cost: $7.95

Weight: 29g (1.022 oz)

Major Axis: 21 kN

Minor Axis: 7 kN

Open Gate: 9 kN

Gate Opening: 28mm


Pros: Large gate clearance, Light weight, Offered in multiple colors

Cons: N/A

Competitors: Wild Country Helium, DMM Alpha Trad, Grivel Plume K3W, Black Diamond Oz, Petzl Ange L