Winter Peg Question

05 December 2013

Winter Peg Question

Category: Q&A


I’ve been reading through your website (thanks so much for giving so much info for free), and have learnt many things. I am confused about what you recommend for winter climbing as in some articles you say to say lost arrows and angles, and in others you say to take only beaks?




A few years ago my mate Robert Steiner (German climbing hard man) told me that Russian Alpine/Winter climber had all but given up carrying any peg but their own beak style pegs, and that this style of peg did it all.  At the time I was pretty sceptical, but since then I’ve slimmed down my peg rack for walls, alpine routes and winter climbing, until now it only contains beaks (A mix of size 1,2 and 3 Moses Tomahawks).  I saw the picture below by Kristoffer on Supertopo this week, about a one day solo of the Streaked Wall in Zion, and I think his peg rack just about says it all (not sure of those lightning holes would work out well in horizontal placements).

This year on the Eiger and the Troll all we used was beaks (on the eiger some belays required five beaks!!!), and the same goes for Yosemite, where hand placed beaks allow you to move fast and avoid complications with broken gear.  For UK winter climbing, or harder alpine climbing, then the size 2 and 3 beaks work really well, either hammered or hand placed like a nut (only size 3) in constrictions or chockstones, plus the size 3 work well in horizontals like a knife blade (slide a nut or sling through the hole in its head).

For more info on using Beaks in winter climbing download this section from my Driven Book.  You can also buy Moses beaks from me here, and for UK I’d go for 1 size 2 and 1 size 3 to begin with.

Note: If you'd like to ask a question - no matter how dumb - then email me and I'll try and help.


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Andy Kirkpatrick
Andy Kirkpatrick

Andrew Kirkpatrick is a British mountaineer, author, motivational speaker and monologist. He is best known as a big wall climber, having scaled Yosemite's El Capitan 30+ times, including five solo ascents, and two one day ascents, as well as climbing in Patagonia, Africa, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps.

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