Forum Index » Mountaineering & Alpinism » TIme to learn about glacier travel


Display Avatars Sort By:
Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
TIme to learn about glacier travel on 05/12/2011 21:32:58 MDT Print View

I have been reading Mike Clelland! and many other resources on glacier travel. My future mountaineering partners and I are ready to start learning on our own about how to work as a roped team on glaciers. We have no intention of getting on a glacier or anywhere near one until we have practiced a lot and most likely have been properly instructed by a professional... in the mean time I have been putting together a list of what we need as a group to get started and here is what I have. Am I a) missing anything? b) buying too much? c) way in outer space with a part of the list? d) please tell me what you like for a particular piece of gear and why? Thanks in advance.

Assume 3 people on the rope team. ()= how many total so (1) means one for the whole team (3) means one each

THE LIST:
(1) rope- 9.2-9.5 x 60 meeter dry core and shell dynamic rope
(3) harness- legs can clip and unclip without going over feet, minimal gear loops
(3) belay device
(3) ice screw- multiple sizes?
(3) 24" picket
(3) waist pursik- 5' x 6mm accessory cord
(3) foot pursik- 12' x 6mm accessory cord
(3) rescue pursik- 5' x 6mm accessory cord
(3) additional cord- 10' x 6mm accessory cord
(3) chest harness - 6' x 8mm webbing (could be replaced by actual chest harness user preference)
(3) rescue webbing short- 4' x 8mm webbing (attached to picket)
(3) rescue webbing long- 6' x 8mm webbing (connect pack to harness)
(18) carabiners- 1-chest harness to rope 2-pack to rope/harness 3-crevase rescue 4-rescue webbing short 5-rescue webbing long 6-extra carabiner
(6) pear locking carabiners- 1-harness to rope 2-harness to waist and foot pursik
(6) screw gate hms carabiners- 1-sled to rope/ extra for rescue 2-cravase rescue

(3) avalanch probe, shovel, beacon...

Douglas Ray
(dirtbagclimber)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Time to learn about glacie travel on 05/13/2011 00:08:16 MDT Print View

Jeremy Wrote:
I have been reading Mike Clelland! and many other resources on glacier travel. My future mountaineering partners and I are ready to start learning on our own about how to work as a roped team on glaciers. We have no intention of getting on a glacier or anywhere near one until we have practiced a lot and most likely have been properly instructed by a professional... in the mean time I have been putting together a list of what we need as a group to get started and here is what I have. Am I a) missing anything? b) buying too much? c) way in outer space with a part of the list? d) please tell me what you like for a particular piece of gear and why? Thanks in advance.

Assume 3 people on the rope team. ()= how many total so (1) means one for the whole team (3) means one each

THE LIST:
(1) rope- 9.2-9.5 x 60 meeter dry core and shell dynamic rope

This sort of rope will work fine. 50m would also be fine as would a half rope. My personal dedicated glacier rope is 8.1x50m and I think that's ideal.

(3) harness- legs can clip and unclip without going over feet, minimal gear loops

It's very important that the harness should be comfortable under a pack hipbelt. The new BD Coulor harness would be a good choice. The CAMP Alp 95 works well as long as you plan your day so you don't have to put it on wearing crampons. You should rig some gear loops on your pack hipbelt, that works much better than gear loops on your harness.

(3) belay device

The DMM Bugette works well for glacier work with skinny ropes

(3) ice screw- multiple sizes?

This is not always necessary and on glaciers you don't really need multiple sizes because the ice is plenty thick. Probably go with 16-17cm and whatever is light.

(3) 24" picket

I'm a fan of the Yates expedition picket
(3) waist pursik- 5' x 6mm accessory cord
(3) foot pursik- 12' x 6mm accessory cord
(3) rescue pursik- 5' x 6mm accessory cord

I'd say go with 5mm cord because it will grip much better on the thin ropes used in glacier travel. My personal lengths are 5' waist, 10' foot (I use a single loop) and 3' rescue prusik.

(3) additional cord- 10' x 6mm accessory cord

I usually bring a full cordalett, 16-20', although maybe that's just because it's the size I have on hand

(3) chest harness - 6' x 8mm webbing (could be replaced by actual chest harness user preference)
(3) rescue webbing short- 4' x 8mm webbing (attached to picket)
(3) rescue webbing long- 6' x 8mm webbing (connect pack to harness)

(18) carabiners- 1-chest harness to rope 2-pack to rope/harness 3-crevase rescue 4-rescue webbing short 5-rescue webbing long 6-extra carabiner
(6) pear locking carabiners- 1-harness to rope 2-harness to waist and foot pursik
(6) screw gate hms carabiners- 1-sled to rope/ extra for rescue 2-cravase rescue

I generally have 1 pear shaped locker connecting me to the rope, 1 D shaped locker connecting me to my waist prusik, a D shaped locker with my pulley and rescue prusik, a pear shaped locker with my belay device, a wire-gate on my cordalette, a wire-gate on the chest harness, two wire-gates on the picket and sling, and one wire gate on my pack sling.

That comes to 2 HMS lockers (I like BD Vaporlocks), 2 D lockers (little light trango ones), and 5 wire-gates (I prefer OP Dovals or other wire-gate ovals). I often throw in one extra 'biner so call it 6 wire-gates all together.

You should probably carry pullys, one for each person.

(3) avalanch probe, shovel, beacon...

I also use a rabbit runner as an ice-axe tether, clipped to my chest harness. Sometimes it comes in handy as a personal anchor of some sort or for another purpose.

Jason Acker
(NWCLIMBER199) - F
Re: TIme to learn about glacier travel on 05/13/2011 12:57:34 MDT Print View

Rope: I agree with the above responder. If this will only be used for glacier travel you can get away with a half rope. Teams of 3 or 4 can get away with a 30m half rope, its what I use for Rainier and other such glacier climbs.

Belay device: Not needed, learn to use a munter hitch with a large carabiner. But bring one if you will be practicing crevasse rescue with a backup belay.

Ice screws: Most likely not needed on basic glacier climbs. Any section that is long enough to need an ice screw you probably wont want to be climbing on.

24" picket: Yes, you need to make sure you have 2 of them outside of the crevasse at all times (3 per team)

Prussiks: go with 5mm. you can make 2 5" prussics and then if you fall in you can tie a double length sling to one to make your foot loops. You don't have to be decked out exactly like freedom of the hills says. Practice ascending a rope with whatever method you go for.

Chest harness: skip it, or at least don't walk with it clipped in. Having it clipped in while walking makes it very difficult to hold a fall (I have practiced this way). it scrunches you up and makes it hard to breath. The only positive is you will stay upright in the crevasse. I personally consider stopping a fall priority number 1 and a chest harness makes this harder. Flipping upside down is really only a concern with a heavy pack anyway or unless you are top heavy.

Biners: you seem to have too many listed for a 3 man team. I carry 1 locker on each picket with a single length sewn runner girth hitched to a hole. Then I will have a large locker to belay with and 2 smaller lockers to attach to the rope and prussik. You need another 2-3 non lockers pp at most to hold an extra double length sling and your pulley.

Speaking of Pulleys you dont have one listed... get a prussik minding pulley, its worth it.

Avy gear will depend on the season/snow conditions.

Another think you want to consider is how to leash your ice axe. I personally leash mine to my harness so that I have an instant anchor at all times. Plunging your ice axe shaft in will and dropping onto it will be much more effective than dropping into the self arrest position if you have the extra split second. This is especially true in the nightmare scenario of the top person falling, a self arrest position will not work here.

The argument against this is in a tumbling fall you wont be able to jettison your ice axe. But by this time you've screwed the pooch already so just start praying.

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
you don't need a lot of gear to start learing glacier travel on 05/13/2011 13:48:17 MDT Print View

start simple and pick things up as you become more experienced. you can read as many books and internet stories as you want, but until you get out on a glacier with somebody who has a lot of experience it's all somewhat wasted. Learning glacier travel on your own has been more than one person’s entry for a Darwin award. a muntner hitch is great, but i typically carry a trango b-52. a short ice screw for each guy isn't a bad idea even if you never use it. half-rope is the way to go. think about tying into your harness instead of a carabiner. i tether my ice axe to my harness. much more practical way to go. switching a leash back-and-forth from hand to hand is a real pia.

below is pretty-much what i will carry for a non-technical glacier stroll; think rainier ingraham direct as an example. you can't see the picket, but I have one -

rainier id

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: TIme to learn about glacier travel on 05/13/2011 20:06:41 MDT Print View

Rope:
60m is fine, 50m is minimum unless on a very VERY tame glacier with tiny crevasses. As far as I am concerned the 30m rope folks are kidding themselves as that means they have to be traveling NO MORE than 30 feet from eachother at MOST. More likely is 20 feet or ~6/7m. Heck, I have wished for a longer rope than 60m on a 2 man team before! All depends on where you are. The shorter distance between climbers = less reaction time for the guy holding the fall. If you believe you are always alert while slogging up a hill, I have some bottom land to sell you and some bridges as well.

You therefore generally want as large a distance as possible.

Exceptions can be found of course generally on very steep gradients when simulclimbing and placing snow pro as this means less time to build up speed on a slip, but in all honesty, if its over 40 degrees you better be placing pro or going unroped because you will do nothing but pull your partner(s) off the hillside as well especially if its icy. If soft you can get away with it a bit.

Most sections of glaciers will feature generally fairly soft snow on their top. Exceptions are (winter and high altitude)if you are on lower sections where the ablation is occurring. There you will have a mix and sometimes nothing BUT ice.

I have been on sections before where the ONLY option was to either use an ice screw or chop a snow bollard as I was holding my partner. No way in hades was I getting a picket in or a 'T' slot for my ice axe in any reasonable amount of time. Guess which one I used first? The ice screw of course. On a 3 person team, 1 per person. 2 person team, 2 per person.

This is especially true on ALL of your larger glaciers. (obviously depends on time of season)
------------------------------

Ditto to what they said about the pulleys(prussic minding!). Without them you can kiss yourself good luck on actually pulling someone out of a crevasse. 3 person team each carries 1. 2 person team each carries 2.
------------------------------
Carabiners:
2 locking minimum 1 at waist, 2nd at chest harness(not all folks subscribe to this ideal)
3 more for making a 6:1.
IMO Each end of the rope should have 5 biners minimum as the middle guy may be in hole, or the snow bridge will fall out from underneath the middle guy assuming you have 3 guys that is.
Lockers used at anchor
For a 2:1 system need 2 biners, minimum. Personally 2:1 never works unless you have a million folks present(assuming the guy in hole is incapacitated, and if he/she is not, why on earth are you setting up a z system to start with. Tell the frightened rabbit in the hole to use their darned prussics and get their rear in gear and put to good use some of their adrenaline!
--------------------------

Prussics needed: Use static cord. Its one less thing to stretch when hauling someone in meaning you will get more pull-in between resetting
Foot
Waist
Pack(take off to use for extra anchor loop when setting up)
GRAB handle(1 foot diameter). Good luck pulling by grabbing the rope without a prussic. You MAY get away without by setting up so you wrap rope around your waist and use your legs in a squat. Average in shape human male can leg squat about 500lbs. This works for a single puller ONLY. 2 pullers you NEED those prussics in a bad way as the average human can pull about a half-third as much as they squat.
---------------------------

What is not necessarily needed on that list, though I would bring it. Extra cord(cordellette or tat). End guys should have plenty of rope on them for setting up a pulley system and anchoring your packs to main anchor. Then again, I am always carrying extra webbing loops as I am going rock climbing after the glacier section.

Probe, ok(though I never carry one), shovel, YES!, beacon, winter only generally, actually I have never used a beacon as its one more damned thing with baterries and more weight. Pack when glacier/mountain climbing already weights too darned much! Instead I tend to dig quite a few test holes for testing avalanche danger when warranted.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: TIme to learn about glacier travel on 05/13/2011 20:20:52 MDT Print View

NOTE:

Pickets: The Yates picket is nothing but 2" aluminum 6061-T6 angle chopped off. Instead of paying a billion bucks for one, go to your local NAPA, Home depot or etc and buy 6061-T6 ALUMINUM ANGLE and drill your holes in it, paint it if you wish and save yourself $15. Or buy the 4 foot long chunk and cut it half creating 2 pickets for a smidgen the price you would pay for someone else to do a little bit of work. Requires 1 hack saw, 1 drill motor and 1/2" +, and a file to take the burs off.

PS, in soft snow the YATES picket is TOO short and does not have enough holding power. Need 36" long, so you have to buy something else anyways. Note on Angle pickets(Yates), you point the angle DOWNSLOPE, otherwise they will turn and come out! T pickets, likewise point the T downslope.

Feel free to take your pickets and drill tons of holes in them. Unless you are pounding your picket into ICE, the snow will give way LONG before you bend your picket.

When placing a picket, point it upslope if pounding it into the hard snow, generally at least 15 degrees as your picket will rotate. If you place your picket in this orientation, make sure to place your webbing at the base of the picket where it touches the snow. Even so, this type of picket will hold very little weight and will readily pop out of the ground. Likewise when such a device is weighted, it will force the snow to deform under pressure. Snow easily deforms under sustained pressure. Thus, if you are using such a placement for your anchor, your anchor will soon start to become loose and may pop out taking the guy in the crevasse and you down as well.

The only true viable option in placing a picket is in a T-Slot. There are scientific studies showing this. Search for them. The only time you will find a "bent" picket is when said picket is stuck in a machine and bent on purpose to find its breaking point, or when some yahoo is walling on said picket with a giant hammer of some sort and puts an odd angle to said force. Even then, the aluminum picket still won't generally break, but rather bend.

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
Thanks a ton! on 05/13/2011 21:35:14 MDT Print View

Thank you very much everyone! I am sure I will have more questions I have to re-read and digest everything you guys posted.

Jason Acker
(NWCLIMBER199) - F
Brian Austin please stop talking about mountaineering. on 05/15/2011 12:58:17 MDT Print View

Are you really advising beginners to make their own pickets just to save $50?

"Feel free to take your pickets and drill tons of holes in them." Seriously? Drilling holes in the wrong place can create some bad stress concentrations and weaken the picket

You have also said that glissading with crampons on is safe and it is not.

Also, 3 people on a 30m rope means that people will be around 12m apart after tying knots. Thats plenty. You only need enough rope to bridge the crevasses. There arent many crevasses bigger than 10m that are on beginner routes.

More rope distance between climbers for more reaction time to stop a fall...that is one of the dumber things I have heard.

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
Glacier 101 is going well on 05/15/2011 15:27:15 MDT Print View

Thanks again everyone, I appreciate the response. I want to again say that we have no intention of getting on a glacier until we have learned how to work as a rope team, pull each other over 10' homemade snow cliffs, and can each build a 6:1 anchor with someone over that very scary 10' homemade snow cliff, no darwin awards for this guy please. I do have a few questions:

I have seen and heard the term pursik minded pulley I get the concept but don't know what it looks like. Can someone give me a name of one?

I forgot to put the ice axe cord to harness on the list, is it easier to carry an axe when it is leashed to my harness than my wrist? I haven't used a lease since the first time I used an ice axe because it annoyed the heck out of me. I can see the need for one on a glacier however, so I guess I will have to improve my technique, practice with it back on the axe, and get over it.

I think we will skip the screws for now, since we won't be on a glacier for a while we probably won't find ice in our practice area.

With the chest harness pinching together when you have to arrest a fall. Could you just tie a second bight of rope off to attach to the chest harness to stop it from pinching together?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Glacier 101 is going well on 05/15/2011 16:13:56 MDT Print View

"pursik"

You are having problems because of spelling.

Try: Prusik or Prussik

I've seen those two spellings used interchangeably for the last forty years or so since I taught knot-tying in the military.

--B.G.--

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
NW"climber" please stop making uninformed statements on 05/15/2011 17:06:30 MDT Print View

NW"climber" please stop making uninformed statements.

1) You don't learn for just beginner routes. You learn for all routes. Going onto a glacier where you start by handicapping yourself to only VERY small crevasses is in my opinion very naive and stupid. Namely one has to worry about white outs and getting off course. Using your super short rope on a standard route in perfect weather is fine, but as soon as somoene gets off route, happens all the time, then your super short rope just became a gigantic detriment.

Making pickets is easy. Sorry if you are ignorant. Those who wish to be informed can easily find the information and yes, save $50 because they aren't made from money. Read how much weight an actual picket can endure in snow, even HARD snow. Its VERY low. IIRC its at best around 700lbs at which point the snow starts to creep. If its ice, then you won't have a picket in to start with, you will use a snow bollard or ice screw. Added on top of that is if you are pulling more than 700lbs, you just ripped your climber in the crevasse in half. Do you propose killing climbers as you "rescue" them? I don't. A #10 bolt could easily hold that, of course it has 0 holding power in snow. You are blathering your ignorance for all to hear whining about a 2" angle 1/8" thick with 50X the section modulus? REALLY? Do, keep informing the masses about your brilliance. Even if you drilled 1" holes in it it would be fine. The average person can MAYBE get their hands on a 1/2" drill bit. Drilling their holes down the center. Sigh.

Look back at my posts and my qualifiers for glissading with crampons. No, you don't always do it and as I inferred, if anyone bothered to contemplate what I wrote before doing the standard knee jerk internet reply, is that if you have crampons on YOU SHOULD NOT BE EVEN CONTEMPLATING GLISSADING as the conditions warrant the wearing of crampons in the first place! Means if you do glissade, you probably won't stop which means you are nothing but a rock hurtling down the hill. IE you better be going slow. What everyone else didn't bother to post for glissading is never glissade where you can't see the bottom and this makes no difference if your head is "up" another 3 inches because your feet are on the ice and if its steep and suncupped you are still likely to go flying head over heals when your heel catches without crampons on. I have done so and seen others do so when doing sitting glissades WITHOUT crampons on. Never Glissade on Glaciers either irrespective if you are wearing crampons or not.

You are assuming a 3 person rope team, when reality states that usually it will be 2 person rope team as that is the most efficient climbing accumen. 3 and 4 is nice, but rarely or never happens except on boring volcanoes that a few folks slog up. Most routes on NW volcanoes don't even really require crevasse rescue gear unless you are heading up the more technical N face routes.

Besides, 30m rope, ends have 3 meters on them 30m-6m = 24m left putting your 12m between ppl. 1 guy falls in crevasse, assume 2 guys out of crevasse, leaves 12-15m to make a C/Z system. You don't have enough to simply throw a drop loop and haul the guy out in the fastest most efficient manner. Or drop loop on a 2:1 system as the guy in the hole is usually plenty fine, but just in an awkward spot. Making a 6:1 with 40 feet of rope makes for VERY short pulley system = TONS of resets = TONS of time = guy in hole is frozen stiff along with the guys topside = if any injuries DID occur, means the guy in the hole is well into shock by that time as the retards up top to save 1lb of rope are resetting the prussic minding pulley for the 100th time to get another foot of rope up and out of the hole with hopefully an alive person on the other end. If you are actually climbing with the want to repel anything significant you probably have a 50m long rope or at a minimum two 30m halves.

Regarding reaction time. I see you can't read qualifiers after your initial knee jerk reactions. Your knee jerks, and your brain turns off it seems. I see you haven't been on many ridges where you decide which side to jump, or simulclimbing long stretches where if given a tad more time the rear guy can stuff his ice axe in and dig in with their feet/body where if you are on a super short rope, you are lucky just to get your axe in at all. The super tame glaciers of Washington/Oregon/WY don't count as glaciers either with their 1 foot wide "crevasses". Other than a few on the bigger volcanoes, there are a whopping 5 mountains or so with 'real' glaciers outside of them. Even then you have to work to find said glaciers.

BC/Alberta/Alaska/NZ/Chile/Argentina all have real glaciers along with Europe another GIANT easily accessable climbing destination. Who in their right mind wouldn't want to climb in Europe or Peru or you name it. Why handicap yourself with insufficient gear unless you have infinite money. I know very few actual climbers who have that kind of $$$.

Michael Febbo
(febbom)
Hesitant to add... on 05/15/2011 20:50:11 MDT Print View

Given the tone of this conversation I am hesitant to involve myself... but; regarding making your own pickets and drilling holes, etc.

PP 8-9 of a 2005 article entitled "Snow Anchors" by Don Bogie states:

"Holes are often drilled into snow stakes in order to provide attachment points, to lighten them and some people advocate it to provide grip. Holes can structurally weaken a stake so care needs to be taken in order to not effect its structural strength. In testing at Plateau this year several stakes that had holes 1/3 of the width of the side of the stake, bent and tore at the attachment holes placed at the stake mid points. Any holes placed for grip or lightening purposes may in fact reduce a stakes holding power in compression as they potentially reduce the area of snow being compressed."

Obviously drilling holes in a stake will weaken it and reduce the integrity of the placement- whether to the point of uselessness is not something I am qualified to state. At the least, I'd read the remainder of the article for a more informed decision. I was going to make my own stakes, but there is little need for them in the Northeast (at least I have little need for them).

Edited by febbom on 05/15/2011 20:53:02 MDT.

Douglas Ray
(dirtbagclimber)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Hold your horses everyone, this is not TGR... on 05/15/2011 21:34:29 MDT Print View

And some politeness, along with grammatical writing, would be much more helpful than arrogant accusations of ignorance.

The originator of this thread, Jason Osborn, would do well to try and glean the major points from both Jason Acker and Brian Austin, as they both make some points that I consider valid. They appear to have different sets of mountaineering experience, and in arguing with each other they both seem to think that the originator of this thread is planning to do the same sort of climbing that they do. The Mr. Osborn has not specified if his mountaineering goals are Climbing Mt. Hunter in Alaska or or Climbing Mt. Olympus in the Washington Olympics or the North Face of Athabasca. Each involve glacier travel but of a very different sort. I would use different equipment and techniques on each. If Mr. Osborn would like to describe his goals, than specific recommendations would be more applicable.

For everyone's information, the most complete and reputable information I know of on the strength, use, and design of pickets is found in the following study:

alpineclub.org.nz/system/files/Snow_Anchor_Report_2005.pdf

I will comment further on issues of rope length. I live and climb primarily in Washington State. Weather the glaciers in this stater are "real" or not would be a question for a geologist which I am not, but we did have a skier die in a crevasse fall a couple of weeks ago so apparently they do provide some risk. Here accepted practice among experienced climbers and professional guides is to rope up teams of 3 or more 35-50 feet apart, and carry some extra rope length on the ends of any rope team smaller than four people travelling alone. A 50m rope serves these needs. Personally I only use 30m ropes on glaciers when there is more than one rope team travelling together. Many others disagree with me about the 30m rope I consider them to be tolerating more risk than I am willing to.

And 3-person or larger climbing teams are very common on the heavily glaciated routes in Washington.

If travelling to Alaska or somewhere else with larger glaciers to climb, I would adjust my technique accordingly. Legions of people never leave the contiguous US to climb anything, and at this point I think the idea of buying a new rope for such a trip would be a small expense compared to the cost of travel. Carrying more equipment than you need on a rout makes it more dangerous, rather than less, and buying equipment that exceeds your expected use is a wast of money in my opinion.

Besides, if you do this very long you will soon have four ropes in your closet like I do, and two of them are 60m long.

On another note entirely. One thing that has not been mentioned, and I don't think is enough talked about, is the issue of staying out of crevasses in the first place. This is talked about some in "Alpine Climbing" by Cosly and Houston (http://www.amazon.com/Alpine-Climbing-Techniques-Mountaineers-Outdoor/dp/0898867495/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1305516372&sr=8-1) which is arguably the most reputable book on the topic available. They guides I know are all very deliberate in there attempts to understand the movement of glaciers in such a way that they have some idea where hidden crevasses are likely to be and avoid them. I think this is an extremely important skill to try and develop, as it is always better to stay out of crevasses in the first place.

So please be polite, ladies and gentlemen, as failing to do so will not only be unpleasant and offensive to the many others who use this site; but it will also tend to make people ignore whatever you write and thereby miss any valuable information that you might bring to the table. Climbing safety is a field rife with misinformation and speculation often repeated as fact. Humility and a willingness to change your technique in light of new research is key to surviving this game.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Glacier 101 is going well on 05/15/2011 22:02:39 MDT Print View

GO to youtube and type "crevasse rescue part I". Watch through part 4. Also look at snow anchors. Different anchor types for different types of snow. This is very important. Also from watching you will get a "feel" for how well different anchors will hold. This video is the preferred method generally speaking as its the quickest method. There are others though only used if the guy in the crevasse is unresponsive. You need to know both or at least the method for the unresponsive climber. Even though you will generally use the quick drop loop method, you need to know how to drop a spare line down as well for an unresponsive climber and transfereing said climber onto said line.

As for your picket holes quote, you quoted exactly what I stated. Testing done in a lab that has no basis in reality in which the snow will fail long before the anchor itself. Also his stated that holes let the snow through is really stupid. What, the Native Americans on their snowshoes were falling through the snow because they used strings of leather like a tennis racket? Ai. About 1" of snow plug will go through said holes. Buy deadmen at a mountaineering store made for snow that is nothing but a bent thin sheet of aluminum with most of its area cut out. Yes, cutting holes makes it weaker, but not weaker than the snow. Ice is a different animal and requires different anchoring methods.

Jeremy Osburn
(earn_my_turns)

Locale: New England
Re: Re: Glacier 101 is going well on 05/16/2011 10:59:09 MDT Print View

Bob for nearly thirty years I have been spelling as many words wrong as possible. Thanks

Douglas, Thanks for refocusing. My 2-3 years (depending on how much practice I get) my goals are in the lower 48. My main practice area will be out east where we don't have glaciers, Colorado still no glaciers and then finally Rainier in about 3 years. After a few trips in the PNW my goal is to make a run at Denali. I don't really have an intention of climbing the world but hey if someone would pay for it I wouldn't say no.

Alpine Climbing is a book I haven't seen. I will go check it out when I finish the others I am reading that will get me through the snowless summer.

It seems like I should start with a 50-60m rope to give us plenty of rope to learn on. I feel like by the time I go to step on a glacier I should have enough experience to know what size rope I should be useing.

Can I ask a question about the argument that started it, that I didn't want to admit that I was already kinda considering. Is it a bad idea to make pickets. I have access to enough of a metal shop that replicating the picture on the websites is not a problem, but if alot of engineering calcs went into the perfect spacing of the holes or the size of the walls... then I will just buy them. If I can save a few bucks I would love to, but if it could get me killed I will have a few less beers for a few months and buy the real deal.

Thanks

Edited by earn_my_turns on 05/16/2011 11:27:01 MDT.

Douglas Ray
(dirtbagclimber)

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Making Pickets.... on 05/16/2011 11:41:23 MDT Print View

Much climbing gear is carefully engineered, and we live in a society where many people have not worked with there hands enough to trust themselves to make something important, hence a skeptical response is typical when anyone mentions making there own climbing gear.

Yet if you have the appropriate skills to work with the materials there is really no reason not to. I know of people who sew there own webbing products, and machinists who have made quite a bit of ice-climbing gear. Most climbing gear was invented by non-engineers actually, and the first examples of almost everything was home-made.

Pickets are probably one of the safer things to make. If you read that article I posted on testing of pickets it's fairly simple to understand how they work, and I suspect that most of the pickets in use in the world have never been evaluated by an engineer. If you have more time than money, and have access to the tools, than you might just as well IMHO.

My Yates pickets appear to be inch and a half angle, 1/8in in thickness. The holes are 5/8in, spaced 2.5in apart on the upper half of the picket (edge to edge, not center to center), in pairs that are 3/8in from the corner of the angle. This seems to work with every carabiner I own. The edges of the holes have been rounded off so as not to damage webbing or cord tied directly to the picket. Below half way the holes are not right across from each other so you can't clip them. There are 11 holes all together.

Jason Acker
(NWCLIMBER199) - F
Re: Making Pickets.... on 05/16/2011 12:41:30 MDT Print View

Yes, pickets are one of the easier and safer pieces of climbing gear to make but anyone that has any business trying to make them will come to that conclusion themselves.

Brian Austin
(footeab) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
30m rope qualifier and reasoning on 05/16/2011 21:56:44 MDT Print View

I see that Douglas made a very important qualifier with the 30m rope that I whole heartedly agree with. 2 rope teams of 3 on 2 30m ropes. That is acceptable IMO.

I think of it this way. If on said single 30m rope team without a backup 30m rope handy to bring the climber out of the hole, assuming its on the right side of the crevasse that is..., though they could set up on their side and transfer the climber to their team, 12m apart from each other. 12m = 36ft.

Drawn out reasoning why I don't prefer 30m rope for glacier travel.

20 foot crevasse bergshrund(easily found) if not far larger, the shrund on Mt. Fury comes to mind along with sometimes the one on Mt. Challenger. For sure there are multiple times this is true on Mt. Ranier, if you decide not to go across at the narrowest point or the bridge at the narrowest point has fallen in on the main crevasse around Mt. Ranier's top.

It goes like this: 1 guy is across 2nd guy is barely across and is now climbing the typical Very steep wall on the opposite side and is barely topping out when the rear guy breaks the bridge and falls in.

Now in big obvious crevasses everyone is paying attention so everyones reaction time is pretty good, so if he falls in it is likely that the rear guy will only pull the 2 front guys a few feet if they haven't already sunk their axes in at every step like they should be doing. Still that leaves the guy holding the fallen climber on the steep edge of the bergshrund. Not a very good position to be in. In a 3 man team you could have the front guy holding and the 2nd guy unclip from the rope I suppose to make an anchor far enough away from the shrund in order to set up your 6:1. Sounds horrid IMO

What is typically taught is the 2nd guy hold the climber in the crevase while the lead guy comes back and sets up the anchor. Of course now you are setting up and holding the fallen climber on the edge of the shrund where it is likely that it will pull away and very little room in which to set up your 6:1. Its for this reason I do not ascribe to the single rope team of 3 on a 30m rope as IMO and many others I have gone climbing with see that same problem.

Do I go alpine climbing with a 8mm 30m rope? Sure, its wonderful for short belayed sections or repelling for 3rd/4th class. Its great for playing at the local climbing rock as well. There is an obvious reason why most alpine climbers are going to 70m ropes. Especially for long snow/ice climbs. Its called length between climbers and fewer belayed stances. If you study the history of climbing you will find that most routes were originally done with 150ft(50m) or 55m ropes.

PS. The hole spacing on a picket has no structural significance at all. Or nearly none as the stress levels in the middle of a beam drop to 0. You could drill holes leaving half the central section easily. On an aluminum "angle" you will save very little weight. On a MSR 'T' 24" picket I took a 5/8" end mill and routed 5/8" + wide ovals 3 inches long leaving -1/4 of the central web saving myself an 1/8th of a lb or 2 oz. We aren't talking a lot of weight here in any case. If you are typical person and did this with a drill you would save about 1/16th lb or 1 oz of weight.

Brad Walker
(brawa)

Locale: SoCal
Ascender? on 05/19/2011 18:08:02 MDT Print View

What about an ascender for rigging haul systems? Something light like a WC ropeman or tibloc? I know you have prussiks listed, but something to consider.

Petzl makes a kit which is probably overpriced but might give some inspiration: http://petzl.com/en/outdoor/self-jamming-pulleys/crevasse-rescue-kit