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Thread: Self Arrest theory ve practice

  1. #106
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    Who needs a course; just study the photo in the 19 March 2009 New York Times.

    http://blog.christopherpercycollier....makes-2-1.html

  2. #107
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    (NOTE: This is an old thread and the article below is related.)

    Interesting article on self arresting with crampons from The Alpine Institute.

    Not saying one way or the other, but there's obviously varied opinions out there. I agree stopping is the most important thing.
    Dead Last > Did Not Finish > Did Not Start

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  3. #108
    Senior Member Craig's Avatar
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    I suspect the article’s audience was guides and experienced mountaineers. I can’t imagine a guide teaching a student or client the “third school of thought”.

    The third school of thought is that you should always kick your toes into the snow, regardless of whether or not you are wearing crampons. The theory here is that stopping is the most important thing and that it's worth the risk of getting flipped over or injuring your ankles to stop.

    Most AAI guides teach a combination of the second and third schools of thought. Programs that teach the first concept are definitely in the minority these days. The number one focus of any self-arrest activity is to stop a slide and most of the time, that means using your feet as part of the arresting system.
    Enjoy your best

  4. #109
    Senior Member erugs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    I suspect the article’s audience was guides and experienced mountaineers. I can’t imagine a guide teaching a student or client the “third school of thought”.
    Guides on Rainier taught us the "third school of thought." And our guides this summer didn't correct us when we did so during our Shasta seminar. The main thing that was stressed on Shasta this summer was keeping sharp ends of the axe away from soft parts of ourselves.
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  5. #110
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    I can’t imagine a guide teaching a student or client the “third school of thought”.
    I think that's exactly what's happening, with caveats;

    Quote Originally Posted by comments after article
    I do want to make sure that everyone understands that we're not proponents of always kicking your feet in no matter what. I think it's better to look at it from the "it depends" perspective.

    If (and that's a big "if")you can arrest immediately before any speed is accrued, then getting your feet in might be better. But clearly if you've gained any momentum at all, you absolutely have to keep your feet up.
    Dead Last > Did Not Finish > Did Not Start

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  6. #111
    Senior Member Craig's Avatar
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    Wow, I stand corrected.

    Chip you did Rainier recently didn't you? Was you taught to evaluate terrain conditions and make a decision “on the fly” as to whether it's better to use your crampons for arrest if you fell?

    Quote Originally Posted by American Alpine Institute - Climbing Blog

    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.

    Strategical thinking when moving in the mountains, in any kind of terrain, should always be composed of two questions. What is is the likelhood of a fall? And, what are the consequences of a fall? If these questions are always at the forefront of your thinking, then a black-and-white answer may not be so important. If you are constantly strategizing what you'll do in the event of a fall, then it is likely that you will react appropriately when the right skill is needed.
    Enjoy your best

  7. #112
    Senior Member kaseri's Avatar
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    True story....

    March 2007 myself and a few partners climbed Mt. Washington via Lion Head winter route. While on the summit we could see a storm starting to come in from the south. We decided to descend to Lion Head as quickly and safely as possible. We arrived at the top of Lion Head very quickly where we all gave the "thumbs up" sign to each other as we knew that reaching this spot meant there was no real chance of being stuck above timberline in a whiteout. Just as our party was about to descend the lee side of Lion Head a wind gust in excess of 100 mph picked me up off my feet and threw me toward Tuckerman Ravine. I was gaining speed fast, performed a self-arrest and managed to stop myself. I climbed back up to my partners and we descended without further issues.

    It's one thing to know what to do and another to have it be second nature. If self-arrest techniques were not second nature to me I'm sure I would have been seriously injured or killed on that day. I see lots of people on steep terrain every winter without the proper gear or the knowledge on how to use it. It amazes me that more people aren't seriously injured or killed in the Whites each winter.
    Last edited by kaseri; 10-26-2010 at 06:29 PM.

  8. #113
    Senior Member Chip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    Wow, I stand corrected.

    Chip you did Rainier recently didn't you? Was you taught to evaluate terrain conditions and make a decision “on the fly” as to whether it's better to use your crampons for arrest if you fell?
    Not really. We practiced self arrest without crampons, but "kick your feet" (to dig in the toes) was definately pounded into us, and so by default, as we'd be traveling in crampons, they may have been teaching us the third technique without letting on. Sneaky bastards ! Also, traveling with the axe pointy end pointing away (even though it requires spinning it 180 degrees to use) was taught.

    Someone more experienced will say it's always safer and better not to fall in the first place, which is true. You'd still need to self arrest if your rope partner fell or broke through into a crevasse, though, even if you never fell yourself. In that case you'd absolutely use your toes and feet as fast as possible.
    Dead Last > Did Not Finish > Did Not Start

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  9. #114
    Senior Member Craig's Avatar
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    I was taught the 2nd school of thought:

    The second school of thought is that you should kick your toes into the snow to help arrest the fall. In this school of thought, your toes should go in immediately to provide more resistance to the slide. However, this school also believes that you should only do this if you are not wearing crampons. This school believes that you should not kick your toes in if you are wearing crampons for fear of injury or flipping over.
    I must be a freak'n dinosaur.

    I'm not saying I don't agree with the premise of the 3rd school of thought, I do. If you''re good enough to be able to evaluate the conditions and be able to adjust you reactions according than that’s great.

    To be teaching folks to kick with crampons without consideration of the snow conditions is a different story.

    Probability and statistic I guess. The statistics must demonstrate that the probability of catching a crampon is low in relation to the potential benefit? I don't know.

    Interesting though.
    Enjoy your best

  10. #115
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    I was taught the 2nd school of thought:
    Me too.

    I must be a freak'n dinosaur.
    Me too...

    My standard crampons are Chouinard rigids with aggressive front points (ice climbing crampons). The front points will catch in anything other than powder.

    Doug

  11. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    Not really. We practiced self arrest without crampons, but "kick your feet" (to dig in the toes) was definately pounded into us, and so by default, as we'd be traveling in crampons, they may have been teaching us the third technique without letting on. Sneaky bastards ! Also, traveling with the axe pointy end pointing away (even though it requires spinning it 180 degrees to use) was taught.
    That's kind of interesting. So you were taught to carry the axe in the self-belay position? I think if you are not truly using the axe in self-belay/piolet, ie plunging the axe into steep snow to climb, then it would be better to keep the axe in the self-arrest position. I think the danger is that the faster you are falling, the harder to self arrest. Thus, best to have the axe in the self-arrest position to begin with.

    I also was taught to kick my toes in, albeit, I wasn't wearing crampons. But in theory, you want three points for the best stability, the ice ax pick/shoulder, and your two feet. It also becomes important if by chance you lost your ice ax. . . self arresting with cupped hands/arms and digging your toes in. In this method, digging your feet in is very important as it's hard to really dig in with your hands.

    But like you quoted in the AAI comments, nothing is ever black and white.

    Aviarome

  12. #117
    Senior Member erugs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    ! Also, traveling with the axe pointy end pointing away (even though it requires spinning it 180 degrees to use) was taught.
    I'm a little confused. Say you're slabbing slope, heading up the left side. Your ice axe is in your right hand (upslope), with the adze pointing forward (A is for Adze). You slip. You pull your axe up to your right shoulder, turn your face so you are looking downhill, grasp toward the tip of the axe in your left hand and pull up. Smooth move. No spinning is involved. Right?
    Last edited by erugs; 10-28-2010 at 09:40 AM.
    Ellen

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    "Through winter-time we call on spring/And through the spring on summer call/And when abounding hedges ring/Declare that winter's best of all/And after that there's nothing good/Because the spring-time has not come... William Butler Yeats

  13. #118
    Senior Member DrJJFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erugs View Post
    I'm a little confused. Say you're slabbing slope, heading up the left side. Your ice axe is in your right hand (upslope), with the adze pointing forward (A is for Adze). You slip. You pull your axe up to your right shoulder, turn your face so you are looking downhill, grasp toward the tip of the axe in your left hand and pull up. Smooth move. No spinning is involved. Right?
    In your scenario, as you are pulling the axe up to your right shoulder, you would be rotating your right wrist counter-clockwise to rotate the head of the axe. Therefore, the adze would ultimately end up adjacent to your shoulder (with your gloved hand on it). You then have leverage to drive the pick into the ice/hill.
    Last edited by DrJJFate; 10-28-2010 at 12:49 PM.

  14. #119
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    The absolute best method

    If you slip and start sliding, you should self arrest.

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