12. Hooking the Lead Rope on the Ice Tool

DANGER! This is an advanced technique that is hotly debated among strong ice climbers, and is NOT relevant to someone watching ClimbingTechTips to learn about ice climbing. It is in no way backed up by standard industry practices, and is certainly not recommended by gear manufacturers who make most ice tools.

The guide in this video Doug Nidever is a bold and solid ice climber, who specializes in thin ice, which involves a much higher risk tolerance. Most people learning to ice climb will be going to places like Ouray or the Northeast, or maybe Bozeman where the ice features are affected by a lot of climber traffic and look very different from the conditions in this video. TRY THIS TECHNIQUE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!

In this video we review considerations for hooking the lead rope on the ice tool while ice climbing. One instance when the lead climber may consider hooking the rope to one of their ice tools is while placing a screw.

This is done by placing the ice tool firmly into the ice above you, and hooking the lead rope up and into the bottom hook of the ice tool. This offers the lead climber additional protection from a potential fall, while placing the screw.

If the climber does fall, the belayer will arrest the belay device and the ice tool will hold the weight of the climber keeping them from falling.

We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!


Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.