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Self-arrest while wearing crampons

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Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby Mescalito345 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:56 am

Check out the comments about this Ed Viesturs video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bosa_P1a_Dw

Seems like there's a lot of debate about "toes digging in" vs "toes up". If I'm sliding down a steep slope at 20 mph, my preference is "toes up", but not everyone agrees.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby Mescalito345 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:30 am

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?
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby etai101 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:45 pm

freedome of the hills disagrees with viesturs.
i usualy tend to agree with the "bible" as too emergency techniques.
all other invetions as long as they dont have anything to with saving my life i except.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby Mountainjeff » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:50 pm

It does not appear that anyone in the video was wearing crampons. I am usually willing to dig my toes in if I don't have crampons on. Typical PNW summer snow is loose enough to not cause a flip.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby MoapaPk » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:40 pm

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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby Mescalito345 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:05 am

In the Jason Martin article on the AAI website, he describes the three "schools of thought" on this topic. Seems like the second school is the most reasonable (kick in when not wearing crampons, feet up when wearing crampons).
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby rockymtnclimber » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:48 am

Mountainjeff wrote:It does not appear that anyone in the video was wearing crampons. I am usually willing to dig my toes in if I don't have crampons on. Typical PNW summer snow is loose enough to not cause a flip.


I'll second this on all accounts. I think the biggest key to note here is that It's all going to depend on the equipment you are using, and the conditions at the time. I self-arrested after a 2000ft glissade down the Corridor about Camp Schurman, and I dug in my toes, crampons and all. But that day, my crampons were so balled up and the snow so soft, that it didn't really matter than I had them on.

The answer to the debate: there is no one right answer - just a right answer for that day and time. Only experience will help you out there.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby Mescalito345 » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:34 am

I agree, when the snow is soft, kicking in with your feet is no problem. For the subject of this post, maybe I should have said "self-arrest on steep hard-pack snow slopes (>35 degrees), while wearing crampons".
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby SKI » Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:16 pm

I think that the answer here is simple:

Don't Fall

Falling is in poor style and is therefore only reserved for the jello-legged like Betty-Spaghetti here:

Image
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby phlipdascrip » Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:07 pm

Mescalito345 wrote:In the Jason Martin article on the AAI website, he describes the three "schools of thought" on this topic. Seems like the second school is the most reasonable (kick in when not wearing crampons, feet up when wearing crampons).


If you are on hard, solid ice or neve, then it's usually better to kick your feet up into the air. If you are on semi-solid terrain with occasional harder sections, then it's probably better to kick your toes in. This "it depends" approach isn't what most people want to hear. They want to hear a black and white answer; in part because a black and white answer is easier to remember in the heat of the moment.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby Rick Kent » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:28 am

Agreed. It depends on the conditions, rate of speed, etc. Trouble is, when you take a sudden slide, you're usually not thinking calmly. Thus, you're more likely to react frantically and kick your toes in. It's best to arrest as quickly as possible but as soon as you pick up speed you run the risk of snapping your ankles or flipping if the snow is hard.
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby jspeigl » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:57 am

rockymtnclimber wrote:I self-arrested after a 2000ft glissade down the Corridor about Camp Schurman, and I dug in my toes, crampons and all.

Cardinal rule #1.
http://alpineinstitute.blogspot.com/2008/08/dangers-of-glissading.html
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Re: Self-arrest while wearing crampons

Postby Mescalito345 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:07 am

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."
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