Beginner Mountaineering

10:56 a.m. on May 29, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

I am relatively new to mountaineering but am planning a day trip up to the high-lands to practice up on some skills, i.e. ice-axe self arrest, chopping stepps, low risk climbing and snow/ice field crossings. I have never had any technical training but I see no problem in self-teaching these basics as long as I keep it low risk. Does anyone have any advice or specific warnings other than the obvious. I am a 3 1/2 season backpacker/hiker in Salt Lake and have climbed most of the Wasatch range. Thanks.

12:18 p.m. on May 29, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Practice a lot. Read some good text like Basic Mountaineering (Moynier I think) or Freedom of the hills.

Practice especially head down on your stomach and head down on your back. Pick a slope with a nice run out. Learn whether you're comfortable with a leash or not on the axe.

Have fun,

Richard


Quote:

I am relatively new to mountaineering but am planning a day trip up to the high-lands to practice up on some skills, i.e. ice-axe self arrest, chopping stepps, low risk climbing and snow/ice field crossings. I have never had any technical training but I see no problem in self-teaching these basics as long as I keep it low risk. Does anyone have any advice or specific warnings other than the obvious. I am a 3 1/2 season backpacker/hiker in Salt Lake and have climbed most of the Wasatch range. Thanks.

11:55 a.m. on May 30, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

When practising self arrest, make sure you
- remove your crampons
- always keep control of you axe
- do it on a slope that doesn't end with a 1000' drop off !

I would consider trying to find a more experienced friend or even join a course or hire a guide for a day or two to properly learn the basics. It may not sound complicated but IMHO the only way to avoid learning bad habits and getting a false sense of "knowing how to do things" is to learn by yourself.

F

Quote:

I am relatively new to mountaineering but am planning a day trip up to the high-lands to practice up on some skills, i.e. ice-axe self arrest, chopping stepps, low risk climbing and snow/ice field crossings. I have never had any technical training but I see no problem in self-teaching these basics as long as I keep it low risk. Does anyone have any advice or specific warnings other than the obvious. I am a 3 1/2 season backpacker/hiker in Salt Lake and have climbed most of the Wasatch range. Thanks.

3:18 a.m. on June 9, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Learn whether you're comfortable with a leash or not on the axe.

I'm curious as to why you would imply that doing without a leash on your axe is a safe practice?

9:47 p.m. on June 9, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Leash?

Quote:

I'm curious as to why you would imply that doing without a leash on your axe is a safe practice?

From all that I've seen, alpine climbing on snow (glacier-type terrain, gullies) is usually done with a single axe with no leash. That's how I learned from my guide at the EMS Climbing School. It would seem to me that having a leash could even be a problem, as you generally want to keep the axe in your uphill hand when climbing or descending (or traversing) and it could cause problems with snagging and stuff when you switch hands every time you cross over the fall line.
That's been my experience, but you may know more than me.
PamolaPat

11:44 p.m. on June 9, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Re: Leash?

Quote:

From all that I've seen, alpine climbing on snow (glacier-type terrain, gullies) is usually done with a single axe with no leash. That's how I learned from my guide at the EMS Climbing School. It would seem to me that having a leash could even be a problem, as you generally want to keep the axe in your uphill hand when climbing or descending (or traversing) and it could cause problems with snagging and stuff when you switch hands every time you cross over the fall line.

Well yes,you generally want your axe on the uphill hand. I personally always use a leash that cinches down around my wrist. I attach the leash in one of two ways. When moving up on moderate terrain I just clip my leash with a biner to my harness. This allows me to switch it from hand to hand with no problems. Other times I just cinch down the leash around my wrist. I have never had any problems with it snagging on anything and it just takes a few seconds to switch the leash to my other hand when changing directions.The only reason I strongly suggest using a leash is to prevent the potential lose of ones axe while self arresting. If a fall is not immediately checked one can pick up enough speed so that by the time your axe grabs , your going fast enough to ripp it out from your grip. I've seen this happen to other climbers a few times and have had it happen to me. Well that just my two cents and was just interested in others thoughts on the use of leashes.

11:14 a.m. on June 10, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

Re: Leash?

One can imagine all the pros and cons of using a leash.
I say imagine because we can all make up scenarios to our own liking, we deal with them base on our skill and experience, and we can all claim, with conviction, that "this way is better, because..."
If you learn it one way, after you have chalked up some milage and reflex, you can try it the other way. Keep in mind of the ever changing objective and subjective hazards (see MFOTH). In the end, it is your own perference as you take your own risk. :-)

11:49 a.m. on June 10, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

MFOTH, Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel...

Hi Jeremy,
See my post above on June 10th. The book can be overwhelming for beginners. Hope the list can be helpful to you.
Also try "The Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue", Tyson and Clelland, ISBN 1-893682-06-4
Cheers, :-)

3:20 p.m. on June 13, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

a different idea

I don

September 24, 2014
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