ice axe arrest

1:18 p.m. on June 10, 2002 (EDT)

I noticed in the previous email, in section 5 about ice axe arrest "Know how to self-arrest while wearing crampons feet up and crampons OFF the snow!!)." However on McKinley last year the Guides showed us the 'American' way where we furiously stamped our cramponed boots into the slope. Not the way we had learnt in the Alps nor the way we would actually have done it. Glad to see it wasn't the American way after all


3:37 p.m. on June 12, 2002 (EDT)

a.k.a. Karl
Re: One size fits all arresting??

I'm not positive of the explanation you are talking about, but if the issue is about toes in or not when arresting--that subject is often misapplied, because there are at least two distinct situations to consider. 1) When YOU are the one falling. 2) When someone else is falling and you are going into arrest to hold the fall. Even (1) has a few types--a) during the initial slip before actually fully in a slide, and b) once you are in a full slide.

For 1a and 2, toes in is definitely superior. For 2b, toes in or not depends on how hard the snow is. Hard snow normally dictates no toes in. Very soft snow may not even allow an axe to do any good, and toes in and hands, too (forget the axe) may be the best. One size fits all statements can be misleading.

4:55 p.m. on June 12, 2002 (EDT)


Thanks for the feedback - we received confusing explanations at the time. I believe your comments may have been what the Guides were trying to say to us puzzled Europeans.

April 21, 2018
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