View Full Version : Glacier Travel
Alright, I'm in the market to get myself some off-piste safety equipment in the near future, more specifically for some glacier travel. I have basically no experience with this (3 days) and I'm only going on what I have been told by some friends with only slightly more experience (sounds safe right). Anyway, here is what I think that I need to cover all of the basics. If you guys could opffer up some opinions, and or add to my list of things that would be wonderfull.
-full step in crampons (to be used w/ t-race), 12 point?
-3rd tool type axe (43-48 cm range) with forged chromo head
-ice screws (18-22cm) how many?
-7.5mm rope, how much? static or dynamic?
-rescue 8, or ATC type device? (or is there something better?)
What are the other essentials?
disclaimer: when I will be phsyically on the glacier, I will be with people who know what they are doing, but I just need to get all of my own equipment beforehand.
10-07-2003, 06:48 AM
Ze wonderful mystical world of glacier travel... I myself am neophite to the adventure.
hobo style :
- pullys are optional but good to have, you can use beeners to build a pully system ( you can get up to 9x force pretty easily)
- extra webing or 3-5mm rope for ascenssion nots
-we use a dynamic ice climbing rope ( good cause it doesn't absorb much water )
- Snow flukes work well. Homemade is quite easy, just go to a hardware store and check out materials.
-lots of beeners...
This is by no means definite but it is my 22cents. I'll be checking this tread as well.
10-07-2003, 09:05 AM
Grab yourself a copy of this book. (http://www.nols.edu/store/books/nc_wildmountaineer.shtml)
10-07-2003, 10:06 AM
From my limited knowledge:
I don't think you need an additional ice axe other than whatever you're carrying as a general mountaineering axe. The idea of self rescue is to ascend the rope and not ascend the side of the crevasse.
BD sabertooth crampons are known to function well with tele boots. 12 point.
2-3 screws should be sufficient. If you'll be anchoring into snow rather than ice, then you'll need flukes/pickets.
2 locking biners per anchor is nice, and extra slings and webbing. I was taught to set up a V-anchor with one anchor further away than the other, and tie a knot in the webbing so if it fails, it won't travel as far before the other anchor catches you.
IMHO, there's no 'right' way to rig a crevasse rescue system, but there are infinite wrong ways. Agreed that biners can be used in lieu of pulleys. Also, ascenders are nice rather than prussiks, but they cost $$$ more than prussiks.
Having an ATC or an 8 is always useful.
10-07-2003, 01:44 PM
A harness is kinda useful. (just kiddin, know you assumed this). But a harness with adjustable leg straps. (endless reasons)
Crampons for your touring bindings. Have toured before on melt/freeze with isothermic snow underneath. Friend I was touring with didn't have em. Couldn't skin (icy top layer), couldn't boot pack (iso layer was deep)
Backpack that easily displays topo map (some backpacks have see thru protection under top of pack.) When you are (truely) mountaineering it is amazing how many times you have to pull out topo.
Pine cones ( in case your visibility goes to shit, you can roll them down hills and get contrast)
Long Ice screws (if you have to rappell), create a "tear drop" with an ice screw, feed 4mm cord through, rap off of it.
A 2x4 piece of wood about 16 inches long, in case you have to rap and there are no anchors, or ice. (T slot) (picture of Doug in Powder with piece of wood)
climbing helmet. (shit falls down hill)
extra basket (no need to explain)
Binoculars ( probablly the most crutial item you can have) Allows you to plan route amongst many other benefits.
There is a transtion from just ski touring to ski mountaineering (Glacier travel) BE Prepared
PRACTICE different scenerios on dry land.
Know your shit BEFORE the situation arrises
10-07-2003, 01:50 PM
I'd recommend talking to whomever is teaching you how to use this stuff about this gear before you buy anything. Different uses and different areas will require different equipment. However, here's my opinion for what it's worth.
If you're just traveling glaciers, and not ice climbing, ditch the 3rd tool and spend the money on a better (lighter) ice axe.
Ice screws shouldn't be necessary either, I prefer using pickets to flukes for anchors. Glacial snow is much softer than water ice so a picket is much safer. If you are going to be traveling up steep, hard, glacial ice, get the longest screws you can(this advice can be translated into other areas of your life as well).
As for the rope, I use a 8 mil, 30m dry rope for rope teams of 2-3 people. If you're going to be in Alaska or throwing more people on your ropes, you'll want longer but 30m is fine for most situations outside AK or the Himalayas. gearexpress.com has had some pretty good deals on these in the past. You could go narrower than 8mm but if you're going to be learning crevasse rescue techniques or taking them over rock, you'll be beating them up pretty quickly.
I think Gorillo meant a 'dry' rope instead of dynamic, being static or dynamic has nothing to do with how much water a rope will absorb. Unless you're planning on fixing lines, go with a dynamic rope. As for the 'dry' vs 'non-dry' ropes, dry ropes are finished with an extra water resistant coating. This coating will wear off with use but it's nice to have, wet ropes suck.
I'd disagree with the ascenders for the rope, just use some prussiks. They're light, cheap, and knowing how to use them is important.
Have fun, I remember learning how to use this stuff on the north flank of Mt. Hood and watching with horror as we all failed our first attempt at a group self arrest. Nothing like watching your partners get zippered off the mountain and go for a ride. This stuff is serious business and your life will be at risk eventually but when you're practicing and you're in a safe area, it's a lot of fun.
10-07-2003, 02:21 PM
Originally posted by CascadeCrudSkier
Nothing like watching your partners get zippered off the mountain and go for a ride. This stuff is serious business and your life will be at risk eventually but when you're practicing and you're in a safe area, it's a lot of fun.
Having punched through a snow bridge to my crotch in a massive crevasse field in the Chugach, only to be snagged by my pack by the guy behind me, hangin there with both feet in the breeze, I would have to agree. The section was too tight for roped teams to be effective (late summer in a compression zone on the glacier) and was hands down the most intense 4 hours of my life. Could not wait to get back into roped teams the next day as the terrain opened up.
Thanks for all of the expertise, insight and recomendations here guys, I really appreciate it.
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