18

Yes, snowshoes can be very useful when mountaineering. The ideal conditions for their use are lots of snow and fairly gentle slopes. The deeper the snow, the greater the advantage snowshoes have over just boots. The steeper the slopes, however, the more difficult and dangerous it becomes using snowshoes -- ascending or descending. Be prepared to take them ...


10

Although the question asks specifically about high altitude camps, my answer is about camps high on a wall, i.e. on big walls, because that's all I know. I also believe portaledge camps are unbelievably boring. A further disclamer is that this answer is also sort of indirect, since I have never been stuck for longer than a couple days. Some of my climbing ...


9

Short roping is a technique that is mainly used by mountain guides to get people up a mountain without the need for a time consuming proper belay. The whole concept of short roping is not to catch a fall but to avoid a stumble escalating into a fall. As such short roping is a dangerous technique because only "under ideal circumstances it is possible to hold ...


8

The problem with rescuing someone in the death zone is, well, that it is the death zone. Supplemental oxygen helps, but the decreased pressure is also problematic. If you are injured or sick, you are not going to get better no matter what type of supplies could be hauled up to you. The only way to rescue someone is to get them down, and get them down quickly....


6

Short roping is dangerous, but a critical part of guiding. See my answer here: Is "Short roping" "Death Roping"? That said, the premise of your question is wrong. Being somewhat of a hyper aware chap, the idea of having my fate dependent on the concentration/shore-footedness of a fellow novice whom I've known for 3 days makes me ...


6

Full body harnesses are not used because of: Weight (for obvious reasons) Bulk (Getting all gear to your climbing desintation can be a chore. Everything else being equal, a more packable harness is preferred) Freedom of movement (a full body harness hinders arm movements) Clothing (Taking a jacket on and off with a body harness is a mess) Instead, ...


6

There are certainly use cases for snow shoes. However, I believe this is rather a niche when talking about proper alpinism and not just snow shoe hiking as it is always an addition to the normal equipment, never a replacement for crampons. If there is a lot of snow (to expect) and the terrain is suitable, most people will skip snow shoes and go directly for ...


6

Snowshoes are certainly useful in mountaineering and are widely used, at least in North America. Typically they are used on the approach and not so much on technical terrain. Many of the climbers I know own multiple pairs of snowshoes of varying sizes, to handle varying snow conditions. However, many climbers far prefer skis to snowshoes because of the ...


6

Look in the women's section of your favorite clothing supplier. The average woman is shorter than the average man, which means there are often smaller sizes in these selections. They also have some options that are not available in mens clothes. Unfortunately Women's clothes often have small pockets, so when shopping the women's section, besure to test ...


6

Professional use These devices are intended for professional rope work. When doing rope access work, there are typically two ropes involved. One is the working line which is loaded with the worker's weight. The second rope is a backup line which is only loaded in case the working line fails. An arrester device is running along on the backup rope and moving ...


5

This sort of hard decision happens at lower elevations. In some ways harder: The Death Zone scenarios obliges you to abandon the victim to save the rest of the party. At lower elevations it's often less clearcut. The difference usually amounts to better weather shorter distances to more moderate terrain. easier access to machine assistance (skidoo, ...


5

The German mountaineer and safety expert Pit Schubert advocates to reduce the signals down to two: (I'm reusing @Ben Crowell's terms since I know only the German words) Leader to belay: "Alice, off belay" (German: "Stand!") when the leader has built their own anchor point. If there is a line of sight to the belayer, the leader may also show both hands as a ...


5

Alice and Betty are climbing in a team of two. Let's start the cycle with both climbers together at a belay, both tied in to the anchor with clove hitches. Betty is going to lead the next pitch. The standard set of voice signals in America, which I'll use below, are the ones introduced by Paul Petzoldt. When the climbers address each other by name, it's so ...


5

For Great Britain, with both climbers beginning at the foot of the next pitch, with leader L and second S: LOn belay: I'm tied to the rope and prepared to climb SClimb when ready: I am now belaying you LClimbing: I know you're belaying me; expect to pay out now LSlack (or rope colour), Take in, or Tight as needed during the climb; also Below! when required ...


5

I think you just excluded the main difference which are avalanches (on steeper sections). Another difference is the higher risk of freezing to death in winter but this is not glacier specific and even in the mid of summer extreme cold can happen at high altitude. On a glacier there are three risks summer and winter: Crevasses Slipping and falling over some ...


5

There are some helpful basics like tieing into a rope and belaying that directly transfer from rock to ice climbing as they are the same regardless of the conditions. Further transferable skills mainly depend on what kind of rock climbing you do. Sports climbing is a lot less helpful than trad climbing. Trusting your own protection is an essential skill in ...


4

Depending on the route, you'll likely need a way to not sink into snow and give you more grip than boots alone. With ice or hardpack snow boots and crampons are great. Most folks with the experience would prefer at skis, Telemark skis, or a splitboard: they're substantially more efficient for longer snow travel than snowshoes (nicknamed "slowshoes"). But ...


4

The Basics Tying in, ropework, belaying, commands and common sense transfer quite well from rock climbing. At least from trad. Someone with rock climbing experience could certainly top rope on ice or follow an experienced leader with only some brief instructions. The climbing Ice climbing technique is quite different from (most) rock climbing. A rock ...


4

IMHO your turn around point "developing hypothermia" is too late. AFAIK, hypothermia usually doesn't happen out of the blue: there's a typical mix of exhaustion and not enough food, usually also accompanied by dehydration. There are also vicious cycles involved (being at one's limit and already slightly cold, possibly behind schedule, and therefore not ...


4

@BenCrowell describes the sequence nicely and @Jasper brings up reducing commands. Due to circumstances (no visual contact and out of earshot) and simply to reduce the yelling on the mountain (both for the pleasure of silence and security, as there is less that could be misunderstood, especially on crowded sections) it is beneficial to do so. I'll give an ...


4

Assuming weather conditions were perfect, and the condition you were treating was mostly oedema, then a hot air balloon with a hyperbaric chamber may be possible. However, conditions are rarely perfect, and the risk, and expense would simply be too much to keep such a toy on constant standby near the major climbs. The manoeuvrability of such a vehicle ...


3

If you can get to the person, a rescue operation is 90% done. A danger zone is a danger zone because spotting someone is often impossible, let alone getting near them. I never heard of anyone passing near someone that was dying and ignoring it, even in the massive scam Everest is. Edit: I didn't know about the case of David Sharp, mentioned in the comments....


3

A somewhat provocative answer is that... it all depends on how good you are! The ancestors of modern climbing shoes were born in the 30s, with the PA shoes of Pierre Allain, who observed that sneaker were more efficient than hard hiking boots when performing technical climbing. The original idea was improved upon in the successive years with the ...


3

You are not going to like the answer, but a 5 member team should recruit a 6th person. I think 3 people per rope is ideal. 4 people always seems like too many and 2 people makes stopping a fall really hard. A one person rope team is not a rope team. The way I would break things down: 1 person - Find more people to climb with 2 people - If you are both ...


3

The correct answer for sure is "it depends on the exact model" but that is quite useless ;) As far as I can see all the airbag vests deploy over your whole shoulder area. This is definitely not suited for backpacks. For some avalanche backpacks it is possible to have one airbag unit and multiple matching packs, e.g. Ortovox. I have not done this myself as ...


3

This kind of device is rarely used in sports as it is only useful when used with fixed ropes. You mentioned crevasses: The rope is not fixed here and you are tied in, so it is hard to image how such a fall arrestor would help. However, one kind of climbing frequently uses vertical fixed (steel) lines: Via Ferratas! In typical Via Ferrata kits, shock ...


2

A bit later it states that during glacier travel, there should be a minimum of two rope teams. Is there any explanation why there should be 2 teams? The only case where this makes really sense is that a whole team falls into a crevasse. This must not happen under any circumstances. If the idea is that a second team can start the rescue immediately, this ...


2

Abandon the trip if... someone in the group demonstrates behavior that threatens the group, someone in the group is found to be lying about their status. First involved dangerous brandishing of a gun - I like guns but he was being irresponsible. Second involved people saying they were warm and dry when they weren't, up until they were dangerously wet and ...


2

It wasn't alpine but I'll throw out one that surprised me: The party was at about 11,000' and cleared a ridgeline that had been shielding them from the worst of the wind, at that point it was so ferocious that a 90-pound female (small, Asian, not a weakling) was struggling too much with it and could barely progress.


2

In alpine conditions generally skis will work better. Below timberline skis work on broad trails. Narrow twisty trail and bushwhacking is easier with snowshoes. Snowshoes on a steep crusted side hill are double plus ungood. Snowshoeing solo is a lot of work breaking trail. The second person is spending less than half the energy. Snowshoes leave a trail ...


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