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Traditional snow climbing training
At the "half crevasse" at Oregon's Mt. Bachelor ski resort parking lot

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A simple SERENE snow anchor using equalized and redundant secure pickets backed up for this training practice by a SAR "BFA", in this case a good Ponderosa pine, using a SAR "perfect hitch". There are no extensions in this anchor system. The rappel rope has been clipped into two locking carabiners with a figure eight at the mid point for this seminar, not realistic because the rappel rope is meant to be recovered by pulling on one side. The red rope will be used as a belay. It was not necessary to tie it into the BFA. The wands will be used to mark the edge of the snow "cliff" for wandering students.


The belayer has dug in his feet and butt into the snow. This sitting snow belay would be adequate to hold the slip of a heavy companion, but perhaps not a leader fall. The belay position has been backed up for training by a third picket. Of course, it is tied in to the front of the harness on the side of the belay rope to the down climber. Note the insulating butt pad, tied to the anchor with the yellow leash. The red rappel rope has been arranged for last-in first-out deployment. Note the 12" runners clipped to the top of each picket to keep them from being lost in the drifting snow.


Note the rappel rope attached to the harness by the larger locking biner through the friction device and held by the dominant hand across the thigh at the butt. The self belay prussic and the back-up belay rope for training, are clipped into a second smaller locker. The feeling hand (waving hand) is guiding the prussic down the rappel rope with the edge of the hand. The feeling hand is not grasping the prussic knot, a common error which prevents the prussic from tightening on the rope.


The mandatory training wave before descending to the parking lot five stories below. The self belay is set up. The training belay is to tight. The training includes escaping a stuck self belay prussic in mid-rappel


The traditional instructor being helpful but not managing his own traditional belay tether which keeps him from toppling over the edge.


Mandatory hands on check of the climber's harness to make sure it is woven back through the buckle.


The mandatory rappel training wave!


Copyright© 2005 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.

Central Oregon's Mt. Bachelor Ski and Summer Resort. The vast parking lot is cleared of as much as twelve feet of snow during the winter and much of the snow is piled on the north side of the lot, creating a near vertical wall of consolidated snow more than 40 feet high. Mt. Bachelor and the Forest Service have allowed us to conduct our free training here for the past six years, and we thank them very much!

Note: Watch for more training pictures of the varied snow anchor set-ups, snow climbing belays and other techniques used in traditional snow climbing training seminars.
--Webmeister Speik





Read more . . .
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