SAFE AND EFFICIENT SPRING TRAVEL
Late spring skiing conditions moved upon us pretty quick, although cooling weather temps and snow in the forecast later this week might hit a reset on the current corn cycle.
In preparation for the many more sunny missions ahead though, let’s discuss some ideas for safer and more efficient spring travel. Icy and firm morning starts means that mountaineering-specific tools are in play for at least part of the day.
First up: ski crampons. Not excessive in weight, will save you the torture involved with managing steep and firm terrain by allowing you to keep your skis on for longer. Give this article a read for more info!
Second: mountaineering axes. There are many different kinds, and will ultimately require some honest self-assessment of needs to decide which one(s) may be the most suitable for the mission. Will you be climbing cascading pitches of ice to then ski hanging snow fields, or just need a safe point of contact and an ability to self-arrest in the upper third steep pitch of a local couloir?
Third: crampons. Aluminum vs. Steel? Steel is more durable, penetrates deeper and better for scrambling on rocks, but aluminum are lighter. There are also some hybrid options available made out of aluminum with steel tips.
As for skill refreshers, some great ACMG Crevasse Rescue review videos on their Vimeo account include Transferring the Load, Backing up a Picket, Hauling, Prepping the Lip, as well as this article on the Techniques and Considerations for Ski Mountaineering on Glaciers.
Use your resources wisely, and happy mountaineering!