Careful at the top…

February 27, 2013
Will Gadd
Everybody thinks it’s the bottom of the free-hanging or free-standing ice features that you have to be the most gentle with, but they almost always break catastrophically at the top, where the tension is the greatest, and where there is the most mass to damage a climber… Be delicate up high, and never place ice screws into free-hanging or even smaller free-standing pieces!
Looks like you have to cut and paste the link into your own browser to see the GIF in motion, which you should definitely do–scary!

4 Comments. Leave new

Wait…. you can’t leave us hanging. Did the guy survive?


Yes he did. The scene is from the movie Quebec Givre. Can’t recall the name of the climber at the moment.

Daniel Hottinger
February 27, 2013 8:33 pm

A quick search shows that the gif was captured from a French climbing DVD called Québec Givré released in 2005. The scene is at the end of the trailer: .

Does anybody own it? The company website does not give any details.


Good reminder, Will. A little explanation of the effects of temperature fluctuation of ice conditions (particularly weaknesses near the top of an ice column) can be found on page 21 of the 2013 Petzl catalog, available for download here:

Stay safe out there…


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