Tuesday, January 5, 2021

An Introduction to Drytool Movement

Drytooling is the act of rock climbing with ice gear. Modern drytooling is a form of sport climbing, often on steep rock with an occasional ice move. It is both physically demanding, and quite fun...

Alpinists have been engaging in drytooling in the mountains since the very beginning of the sport. Ice climbers began to play with it to link ice features together. But then something happened. People realized that moving over rock with tools required special skills and techniques. So, like off-width climbing or aid climbing, a small group of people began to focus solely on this sub-genre of the sport.

AAI Guide Chad Cochran Drytooling near Mt. Baker.

The art of drytooling as a stand-alone discipline of climbing really took off in the early 2000s. Suddenly people were pushing the limits; and before you knew it, there were drytooling routes and competitions everywhere.

If you're already an ice climber, drytooling is an easy sport to get into. But not all of the moves on the rock are obvious. It's not just about hooking and pulling. There is some method to the madness. In the following video Ian Hanson talks about some of the basic techniques used in drytool movement:


It should be noted that drytooling is physically demanding. The first time you give it a try, you really should expect to get completely blown out. But as you develop technique and strength, you'll also develop success...

--Jason D. Martin

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