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need to learn self-arrest
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william hutchinson
(okuncool) - F

Locale: midwest (boo hoo)
need to learn self-arrest on 09/04/2006 11:47:42 MDT Print View

here is my problem,
i am planning a thru-hike of the pct in 07' foro which i have a few years of hiking experience, but zero mountaineering experience. i would like to learn the self-arrest techniques before i go however i live in the midwest. (no mountains). so what should i do. the nearest mountains i live near are the appalacians and i am not sure i can afford to get out west before the trip. i was thinking of trying to meet somone around kennedey meadows on the trip to show me, but that seems risky. any suggestions? also any suggestions on ultralight ice axes would be appreciated. i was thinking of that all alluminum grivel.

Edited by okuncool on 09/04/2006 11:48:33 MDT.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: need to learn self-arrest on 09/04/2006 13:20:07 MDT Print View

Most likely you should be able to find someone to help you learn. Self arrest is quite important to know when traveling in the snow. The Sierra's have many passes (sounded like you aredoing the PCT). No question if you are doing the PCT, learn it from someone. After you do learn it practice and practice more. Try sliding downhill headfirst on your back, slide headfirst on your belly, and try every different body angle. It will make you more comfortable when the time comes for self arrest. Hope that helps.

william hutchinson
(okuncool) - F

Locale: midwest (boo hoo)
Re: Re: need to learn self-arrest on 09/04/2006 16:18:05 MDT Print View

any ideas on where i could do that. does it really need to be a mountain. how much snow needs to be on the ground.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: need to learn self-arrest on 09/04/2006 16:20:31 MDT Print View

you need to slide downhill to simulate a fall. There is no other way.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: need to learn self-arrest on 09/04/2006 20:58:31 MDT Print View

Do not attempt to learn to self arrest with crampons on in the beginning, catch a point/get a cast.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: need to learn self-arrest on 09/04/2006 21:23:01 MDT Print View

Good point Larry and something that I totally missed. Correct.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
self-arrest on 09/05/2006 07:20:36 MDT Print View

It would be nice if you could take a BMC, basic mountaineering course. You need a snow covered hill with a safe run out and some fairly heavy duty clothing. It would be interesting to try on a hill covered with iceplant or wet grass but I'm not washing your clothes and it really isn't the same experience.
You need to pick up a copy of Freedom of the Hills, by the Mountaineers, and at least practice the positions and concepts before you meet up with someone in the Sierras. I'm sure any guide service will help you out if you can't find a volunteer, we also used to offer this training as part of Mountain Rescue.
Find some snow, find a friend , good luck.
The grivel is a fine tool, if you are only going to own one ice axe get one that is uiaa certified.

Sam Haraldson
(sharalds) - MLife

Locale: Gallatin Range
Re: need to learn self-arrest on 09/05/2006 12:41:15 MDT Print View

To practice self-arrest you don't need to be on a mountain. Any snowy slope will do, in fact learning is better done on a small, safe slope as opposed to a deadly avalanche chute.

This winter once there is snow on the ground go to your local park or golf course with your ice axe, find a hill with a bit of steepness and not too much length and practice.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: need to learn self-arrest on 09/05/2006 13:27:59 MDT Print View

Absolutely - any decent slope will do.

There's nothing that can replicate the feeling of hurtling down a slope upside down and backwards, wearing a pack, and making the right moves to self arrest, other than actually doing it.

If you have someone to show you how to do it and "spot" you, that is far and away the best, short of an actual class.

The classes I've taken have given me other skills and I certainly recommend going for something like that if you have the access and time. On one mountaineering class I brought along my own lightweight gear (Cassin Ghost, Kahtoola crampons, backpack) so I could simulate as closely as possible what it would be like if I actually had to use the skills while backpacking with that minimal equipment.

Edited by slnsf on 09/05/2006 13:29:12 MDT.