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19

You never want to stop yourself with the crampons because they are liable to catch, flip you over and, at best, put you in a worse situation than before and, at worst, break your legs. Instead you want to first stop yourself using the pick of the ice axe, with your crampons raised above the ice. You can use your knees as an additional brake. The way you do ...


16

Your best bet is to try and position yourself face down, with your feet at the bottom, and then arc your body to put as much pressure on the hands, feet and knees as you can. As pointed out below though if you have crampons then don't ever dig those into the surface at all - you'll only injure yourself! If that's the case, just use your hands and knees. It'...


13

In general it really depends on the snow condition. Angle: If it's powder snow you need a quite steep angle (25 degrees and more). If it's icy/ hard/ wind slab snow then you can try it on a less steep (20 degrees) slope. Safety: I would search for a slope where you have a safe run off, if you can't manage do arrest yourself. And also that your runoff is ...


10

TLDR As long as you can walk normally (using the whole foot not just the toe area) always hold your axe at its head with the blade pointing backwards. More information This depends on the situation you are in. The text from Grivel seems to be a oversimplification. There is not just one technique for ascending and one for descending. There are two basic ...


10

Although @ReverendGonzo gave a nice answer I want to start a little debate. There is no explicit answer to this question. Different alpine clubs have different opinions and even different mountain guides in one organization. That being said, I think the process described by @ReverendGonzo (which I will call default process) is very common and also the ...


9

I can't speak for the Scottish winter and there definitely are differences to the Alps. But still I can give you an overview what is important to learn if you are going to do alpine summer tours in the Alps. The German Alpine Club (German: Deutscher Alpenverein, DAV) is the world's largest climbing association. The number of members is over one million. (...


8

The most important thing to remember is to prevent this situation. You should never find yourself in the position to slip down a slope. In many cases (steepness, snow/ice conditions, ...) there is no way that you will stop once you are slipping, even if you execute the following perfectly. Still we want to be prepared for the worst case as well. And knowing ...


7

We used GriGri extensively at my local wall for groups, route setting and emergency rescue in the wall. The key issue is that like a car seat belt a GriGri needs inertia to fire it - a sudden jerk. If you weight it slowly it can slip and not lock. I experienced it while route setting and had it not been for the Petzl Shunt positioned above my ...


7

This isn't a complete answer, just an answer about the avalanche stuff, but it's too long to fit in a comment. Research shows that most avalanche training actually is not helpful in reducing people's chances of getting killed. It may even produce a negative effect on safety, because people get a false sense of competence. This is called the "expert halo." ...


6

Interesting. All of the answers address winter mountaineering, which I would regard as a separate subject. Winter skills for someone like me, living 4 hours from the mountains, would primarily be about how to prepare and cope with winter conditions, such as encountered by a hunter or hiker below timberline. Skills I would see as important: Hypothermia. ...


5

I have done this before, and it not all that different from jugging up a rope. What you will want to do it to attach the knots (typically a figure eight on a bight) to your belay loop with a locking carbiner. That way, if the gri gri was to fail, you would only fall until you the rope went tight. Tying the knots more often will limit the potential drop. If ...


4

One of the most important thing in ski mountaineering is weight of equipment. So you should take only what you really need. That will allow you quickly move and enjoy a trip. Regarding what to take (Piolet(s), Whippets, ice tools): ice tools used only for ice climbing and technical routes. Usage is very limited. Also ice tools can't be used for self ...


4

Personally I would go with poles and one ice-axe as long as possible. As soon as there are have prolonged steep slopes (defined by having to ascend with front points of crampons) I would take two axes. I originally wrote the paragraph below assuming it was mountaineering (in May - silly me). It is still relevant and applicable, but it assumes that a pole is ...


4

Having learnt this years ago, I can thoroughly recommend that when you're in a suitable spot with a group you practise. The rest of the group can observe your form, keep an eye out for hazards and generally stand around looking unconcerned. A suitable spot is reasonably deep snow that naturally flattens out, free of rocks and trees. This may also give you ...


4

If you have a hiking pole you can use it for self arrest. Keep the strap around your wrist. When you fall, hold that hand away from the ground. With your other hand, grab the pole a few inches from the point and jam it into the ground. It's a little like using a cumbersome ice axe.


3

Unless the slopes gradually becomes less and less steep and you're sure there are no glaciers hidden under it, then the only way to safely practice that is to build a solid backup anchor on top of the practice slope and tie into it with a significant amount of rope slack. How to build the anchor is dependent on the terrain. There could be ice on top of the ...


3

So I'm thinking, on my back, head up hill, crampons in the air (to prevent them snagging). I brace my ice axe into against my collar bone. I now need to roll onto my front to push the head of the axe into the snow. But how do I do that without catching my crampons (as I roll). Does that make sense? When you're on your back, you don't need to get your ...


2

There is a bit to it. A book like Freedom of the Hills has excellent instructions with illustrations. If it is solid ice you cannot break through then this is not going to work. Practice on your own, with a group, and / or go to a school. Practice on a slope that has a slide out so you will stop even if not successful. Often if there is a chance of ...


1

A walking stick might help, but I think your best bet is going to be to sprawl out flat and dig your hands as deep into the sand as possible. Sand is not like ice. You can self arrest on ice because it's a medium that you can create friction on (scratching your pick into the ice), but sand isn't solid, it moves; flows. Getting caught in a sluff of sand ...


1

Also how do you start a slide to practice this? Go with a friend and randomly push each other over - self-arresting is a lot easier when you expect to fall over. What you really need to practice is how to manoeuvre your body & axe into a suitable arrest position when you're going head first, rolling sideways etc.


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