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Self-arrest while wearing crampons

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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby Grampahawk » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:21 pm

Mescalito345 wrote:In the first AAI link posted above (by MoapaPk), there was the following comment from a climber named Michael:

"As someone who suffered a severe ankle fracture resulting from a ~150ft slide down a 45deg+ pitched couloir, I can attest that had I kept my crampons elevated during my attempted self arrest, I would have not likely fractured my ankle in the process of being flipped."


Thus, the definitive answer to the question...
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby MoapaPk » Fri Mar 11, 2011 9:40 pm

Mescalito345 wrote:In the first AAI link posted above (by MoapaPk), there was the following comment from a climber named Michael:

"As someone who suffered a severe ankle fracture resulting from a ~150ft slide down a 45deg+ pitched couloir, I can attest that had I kept my crampons elevated during my attempted self arrest, I would have not likely fractured my ankle in the process of being flipped."


I wonder if he did a controlled study.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby aglane » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:20 am

When sliding other than in self-arrest position, take care not to catch a toe if rolling over (can hyperflex the leg and pop a knee ligament).

And from that comes a reasonable general rule: dig in toes after self-arrest has produced a reasonable degree of control, not in any case before the axe is biting well and having an effect.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby MoapaPk » Sat Mar 12, 2011 2:41 am

It's also good to have strong ankles before heading to the mountains.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby Mescalito345 » Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:05 am

Most of us take off our crampons before practicing self-arrest. Then we kick in with our toes to stop. Considering that most high-speed slides will occur while wearing crampons, wouldn't it make more sense to practice without kicking in? If you always kick in with your toes while practicing, you'll probably do the same thing when you have to make a quick decision.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby partlyanimal » Thu Mar 17, 2011 4:05 am

Most of us take off our crampons before practicing self-arrest. Then we kick in with our toes to stop. Considering that most high-speed slides will occur while wearing crampons, wouldn't it make more sense to practice without kicking in? If you always kick in with your toes while practicing, you'll probably do the same thing when you have to make a quick decision.


I'll second that. I have an acquaintance who broke both ankles while self arresting with crampons. Had to be hauled out of the Wind Rivers on horseback. Afterward he said that he had always practiced without crampons and had always kicked in his toes. In a real situation with crampons it was an automatic response to kick in.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby artrock23 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:07 am

partlyanimal wrote:
Most of us take off our crampons before practicing self-arrest. Then we kick in with our toes to stop. Considering that most high-speed slides will occur while wearing crampons, wouldn't it make more sense to practice without kicking in? If you always kick in with your toes while practicing, you'll probably do the same thing when you have to make a quick decision.


I'll second that. I have an acquaintance who broke both ankles while self arresting with crampons. Had to be hauled out of the Wind Rivers on horseback. Afterward he said that he had always practiced without crampons and had always kicked in his toes. In a real situation with crampons it was an automatic response to kick in.


Maybe it's not a bad idea to practice with crampons on? :idea:

When I practiced self-arrest and glissading in the Boy Scouts many years ago, it was always without crampons. Now, after three decades away from mountaineering, i'm not sure how i'd do in an unexpected situation while wearing crampons.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby RickF » Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:50 pm

Deleted User wrote:
Mescalito345 wrote:If you're sliding at a high rate of speed on an icy slope, and then you kick in with your crampons, isn't it likely that you'd flip over?

Yep. got to be careful here with crampons on. it's a bit of technique. if it's icy, then self arrest entirely with your axe, then dig in with the crampons once stopped, then stand up, keep going. some people "dig in" with thier knees, to slow down (while self arresting with thier axe). then at a safe speed (i.e little or no speed) dig in with the crampons. but thats if the snow conditions are right. hard part is that usually when you need to self arrest, you're going to have crampons on and it will likely be icy. in any case, practice a bit. but you never want to "dig in" with your heels (as far as I know). that will lead to a grand flipperoo...


You probably won't flip over if you dig a crampon point in while sliding at a high rate of speed. It's more likely that you'll break your leg or ankle or break a crampon. On an attempt of Shasta last June, a friend slid several hundred feet on very firm, early morning snow. On his third attempt to maneuver into self-arrest position he was able to get his weight onto his axe and stop. His right crampon came apart at some point of impact during the involuntary slide. When he stopped and we assessed his condition and that of his gear, we found that both of his crampons were displaced from the soles of his feet. He had mulitple shallow cuts on his lower legs, presumabley from crampon points. On his right crampon, the link-bar that connects the front & back sections of the crampon was gone, lost somewhere up on the slope over the 500' to 600' distance of the slide. We felt he was lucky to break a crampon rather than a leg.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby Wastral » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:27 am

Self arrest and pons is all about conditions. Enough said. Knowing when.

If very soft snow and you are wearing pons then the ONLY way to stop is by using your feet as your adze end of ice axe won't stop you. The problem lies when there is an ice layer under said slush. You can't predict this. OF course the only real reason you still have said pons on is because there IS said ice layer under that foot of slush. Or were too lazy to pull them off and like balling up snow under your foot making you slip that is... Not that we all haven't done this...

If on hard snow or ice, if your ice axe won't stop you, then your pons won't either. Even if you can use them, you can, the amount of weight on said pons better be VERY minimal. In such conditions need to learn to get ALL of your weight on the axe head, not possible, but "close". This takes upper body strength. Many don't know how to do this as they have never practiced on a steep enough slope. Essentially you have to do a pull up and "hunch" on your ice axe. This still leave significant weight on your knees/feet. Yes, in this instance using a Tiny bit of pon point pressure may help. It is certainly NOT the first option.

Different conditions-->>> Different methods.

Period.

PRACTICE! Practice! PRACTICE! Most broken ankle folks are due IMO due to folks who never practiced or thought about such situations ahead of time which is the same thing. There are a rare few who during said descent got bounced around so much that their pons hit without them doing it. OF course this probably means they were out to lunch when they slipped in the first place thus it was their attention to what the Hell they were supposed to be doing that resulted in the slip in the first place.

Bah, wrote too much.

Practice. PRACTICE
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