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From 2018: Top Mixed Climber Says Don’t Drytool When Warm Out

An article from August 2018: Wait until the first freeze to tackle those steep rock lines with ice tools

Drytooling is a bit of a contrived sport, as the drytooler is using ice climbing gear to free/aid up rock much like a mixed climber would, only the mixed climber will eventually reach ice.

Drytooling isn’t allowed at areas where rock climbs have been established for summer use and many climbers frown on the sport all together because it damages the rock in such a dramatic way.

Nathan Kutcher, one of Canada’s top mixed climbers with a number of gold medals in comps to his name, recently repeated a new “M13” in Ontario and had some choice words to other drytoolers.

TN, the little patch on my leg that means a lot. @truenorthclimbing is a gym in #Toronto that wants competition climbing to grow and has supported me in #competitionclimbing since I first started doing #iceclimbingworldcup That patch is also my shout out to the climbers in #Ontario and the rest of #EasternCanada. I could live out west, but I like it here. I’m not sure if I would be living the life I do if I was based elsewhere. It doesn’t matter where you live, it matters how hard you train and what you do with that training. Thank you to @timbanfield for the photo of me competing in #ourayicepark. Thank you to The Lalonde Group/ @asolospa & @rab.equipment for supporting me and giving me the best gear to compete and climb in. Thank you to @rebecca.lewis.climbing for supporting me and my ideas since I started it all. #stcatharines #niagaralocal #iceclimbing #mixedclimbing #drytooling #teamcanada #iceclimbingcanada #ontarioclimbing #trainingforclimbing #CompXT #Vertex #MerinoPlus160

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Kutcher told ontarioclimbing.com that “unless a crag is heavily manufactured, drytooling when the rock is not frozen will result in a lot of damage to the rock.”

“When I was training for my first trip to Ouray I wanted to climb on Centipede, but I stayed off it because I wanted to preserve the route for future climbers. I think that running laps and hogging out the holds is extremely selfish. Endurance training is super easy to do at home and shouldn’t be done on these routes.”

Kutcher told ontarioclimbing.com that Centipede M11 at Grotto Cave in Ontario has changed over the years. “The holds are much better now. They used to be pretty technical, but now they’re all pick-eaters. Some holds have also broken and new holds have magically materialized. I guess that is the evolution of a mixed/drytool route, but this process has been fast-tracked at Elora with folks climbing on these routes in the summer.”

Kutcher had recently repeated Dreaming of the West, which was established in 2017 and graded M13. It climbs Time Line and Centipede M11 with the addition of a new start.

Kutcher made the second ascent and noted that there’s no way it’s M13, soft M12 at best, but likely a more difficult M11. Kutcher has won the Ouray Ice Fest against the world’s best mixed climbers twice.

Be sure to follow Kutcher and his adventures on Instagram below.