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Basic Mountaineering Equipment
This section will brief you on the prime mountaineering equipment used by the ABVIMAS, Manali and to brief the budding mountaineers on the basic necessities in mountaineering.
Equuipment
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Crampons
There are numerous crampon designs and harnessing styles. When choosing a crampon consider the following: Is the crampon compatible with the boot you have already chosen? Do you need horizontal or vertical front points? A hinged or rigid version? A step-in or strap-on model. Flexible crampons have a hinge in the middle, which allows the crampon to flex along its length. This avoids metal fatigue in the crampon frame when used with a non-rigid soled boot. It also helps step-in bindings fit on a flexible-soled boot. Rigid crampons do not flex under a boot, so the boot sole must also be rigid to avoid metal fatigue in the crampon. Rigid crampons provide more stability when front-pointing on steep ice, and the vibration from kicking will also be less (which means that there will be less tendency to shatter the ice). Rigid crampons are more likely to pick up snow (that is, to "ball up") than flexible crampons. Strap-on crampons may need to be used on leather boots, especially if there is little or no welt on your boots. A strap-on system may also be needed if the crampons are used with overboots or with very large boots. Strap-on crampons weigh a little less, and they are less expensive than most step-in models. Step-in bindings are easier to use and faster to put on, particularly when its cold or dark. They will also fit a boot more precisely and offer more warmth, since straps can inhibit circulation. However, they are generally heavier, more mechanically complex, and more expensive than the strap-on models.

Ice Axes
Choose a 60 to 70 cm axe for general mountaineering. This length is helpful for probing on glaciers and provides support on moderately angled snow and ice slopes. A general rule for length, based on height, is 60 or 65 cm for climbers 5'8" or less, 65 or 70 cm for climbers above 5'8". For very alpine ice routes most climbers prefer a 60 cm axe along with a shorter more technical tool such as a 55 cm hammer. For steep waterfall ice two 55 cm tools, one hammer and one adze will perform well. You can also choose between straight or curved shafts. Straight shafts can be more versatile in an alpine setting, allowing them to be used in a number of modes in both snow and ice. Curved shafts offer a more natural swing and are less prone to bashing your knuckles while providing more clearance when climbing over bulges and mushroomed ice. Choose the best axe to meet your specific uses. Seriously consider how much of your climbing will be on steep ice and how much will actually be on low and moderate angle ice and snow. Don't make the mistake of getting and axe that may be too specialized for your needs. Remember straight shafts are more versatile than curved. Another topic to consider is that some axes allow you to change the type of pick, length, and angle, de-pending upon the climbing you are doing. This is a very powerful and reliable option to have!

Ropes
Choosing a Ropes: In choosing a rope, the first decision to be made is whether to use a single or double rope. Single ropes (ranging in diameter from 9.8mm to 11mm) are still the most popular in the Himalayas and work well for both ice and rock. In Europe, double ropes are most commonly used, and they are gaining popularity in the Himalayas. With the double rope system the leader need only clip one or the other to any piece of protection allowing each rope to run straighter and thereby decreasing rope drag. With double ropes there is no need to carry an extra rope for rappels on the descent.

Learning the Numbers: In comparing ropes, avoid using diameters as a primary basis of judgment, as manufacturers determine their diameters using different criteria. Instead you can use the weight in grams per meter to tell how much material is in a rope. The right rope will always be a compromise between several factors: weight, handling characteristics, abrasion resistance, price, and stretch are among them. Impact force represents the amount of force on the weight (which represents the climber) in a UIAA fall. Because a low impact force will put less strain on your protection and the climber, many climbers believe that this number is more important than total falls held. Field statistics back this approach, as rope failure is much less common than incidents of gear failure. Ropes with low impact forces usually have more stretch (which means longer net falls). The handling characteristic of a rope is very important, but is not currently quantified in any way. Softer rope is easier to tie knots with and is nice to handle and belay with. The stiffer rope, however, is usually more resistant to sheath slippage and abrasion, often the two factors which lead to early retirement of a rope.

Options For Ropes: Ropes come either with or without a dry treatment. These treatments help reduce water absorption, which greatly reduces a rope's strength and temporarily adds greatly to a rope's weight. Should temperatures drop below freezing a wet rope can freeze, which greatly increases the chance for failure during a fall. Dry treatments rarely last as long as the rope does, but post-manufacture treatment is possible with products specifically designed for climbing ropes. The standard length for a rope is 50m (165'), but many climbers are opting for 55m and 60m ropes. The extra length enables longer pitches and longer rappels. Also, if one end of the rope is damaged and must be cut off, the rope may still be 50m or longer.
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