Dry Tooling at Pivot Point

Dry tooling is rock climbing with ice tools and crampons instead of rock shoes and fingers. By hooking picks and points on tiny rock edges we scratch up impossibly smooth faces. Dry tooling is part of mixed climbing, where both rock and ice are being climbed at the same time. Mixed climbing is standard procedure for getting up high and technical mountains, like on the steep Alaska Range faces. Dry tooling has also become a sport in itself, where climbers hit the crags before ice forms. In some areas people climb bolted dry tool routes. 

North Slope tower climber Cody Arnold matches hands on one tool so he can keep traversing while using one solid edge. His second tool is hooked on his shoulder. When the tool pops he'll fly into the old-growth devils club forest. 


 

Cathy near a no-hands rest on the original Jay Rowe traverse. 

 

 

Jay Rowe, the godfather of modern Seward Highway dry tool bouldering demonstrates his talent. 

 

Dmitry Sidrov said to me, "I've never been dry tooling before." In the 1980's, Dmitry was on the legendary, state-sponsored Russian climbing teams. A process that produced the world's most hardened alpinists until the end of the USSR. Dmitry didn't call it dry tooling back then.

 

Alpinist Ryan Hokanson steinpulling and edging a project. 

 

Dmitry torquing his crampon monopoint into a crack as a foothold.

 

Sunday afternoon. Rehydrating at the Tap Root.