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Winter White-Out Safety
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John S.
(jshann) - F
Winter White-Out Safety on 01/20/2007 10:53:40 MST Print View

Please give your opinions on safety measures during white-out conditions while away from basecamp. In addition to map, compass, gps (and knowing how to use them), what would you use to mark the trail, etc. Thanks.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Winter White-Out Safety on 01/20/2007 11:35:40 MST Print View

If your group is large enough you might consider using wands, you can make them from small diameter bamboo, cut a slit in the top and insert some bright surveyors tape, about 4 feet in length or you can buy bamboo or fiberglass ones. Anytime you leave basecamp you mark out the return path with them. If you are on a glacier mark your safe zone around your basecamp with wands or ski poles laced with bright cordelette, you don't want to disappear on a midnight tinkle break.
If you are prepared sometimes the best one can do is sit it out, but paying real good attention to the lay of the terrain before the whiteout sets in can give you options to discuss before you commit to a direction... i.e. was there a steep headwall on your right or did you ascend above a creek drainage.
These can be quite a frightening experience for anyone, seasoned or newbie.
Oh yeah, a couple of whistles can keep a group in touch as they fan out looking for landmarks; use a prearranged system of whistles to communicate.

Edited by pyeyo on 01/20/2007 11:38:41 MST.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Winter White-Out Safety on 01/20/2007 19:10:23 MST Print View

If your "basecamp" is in a wooded area, "Blazers, Light-Reflective Tacks," are lighter than wands. Personally, I make the little wifie and our ankle-biting kiddies spread out on the way out, and use their whistles until I come back and pick them up. You lose a few this way, but not that many when you consider the population of the planet.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Winter White-Out Safety on 01/21/2007 11:17:40 MST Print View

So you stick the light reflective tacks into the little wife and kiddies or ...?
I kind of like this but I still want people to quit falling into crevasses, the high mountains are getting cluttered up enough without an endless stream of corpsicles popping up like frozen toast.

(RobertM2S) - M

Locale: Lake Tahoe
Winter white out safety on 01/21/2007 15:13:38 MST Print View

I just poke the tacks into the little wifie, what kind of cruel monster do you take me for? I can't go into detail with current guidlines.

Ed Viesturs says in his new book that he was almost the only climber among his peers to use wands extensively, and explains how it saved his life on K2.

Gene .

Locale: New England
Re: Winter white out safety on 01/23/2007 15:13:41 MST Print View

You could always use some reflective cordage tied to yourself/pack that ran out at 100ft. Just respool on the way back in to your camp....worked in Antartica!