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Kyle

Mt. Baker

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Climbed it over the weekend via Coleman-Deming route; good fun, nice weather, no crowd. I'd expected to find the route much more broken up & out of condition, etc, but it's still fairly direct & in good shape, w/ no significant crevasse problems; best conditions I've ever seen on the route actually.

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Thanks Kyle. I'm thinking about going up there this coming weekend. Is it worth it to bring skis? I'd really like to get in a few tele turns if the snow is right.

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Matt- it's hard for me to say, because I'm not good enough to do that sort of skiing. Above 9000' (Roman wall), it's fairly icy, below that it was quite soft in the afternoon. I'd guess it wouldn't be the best skiing... I didn't see any ski tracks or skiers up there, if that tells you anything. Cheers,

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This climb was unusual for me, since we had a party of 5 (biggest group of guys I've ever climbed with), and 2 of them were beginners. Saturday I conducted a little glacier training session (which was actually a lot of fun), then 4 of us summitted Sunday. We carried a full complement of gear- 1 ice axe, crampons, prusiks, & one picket each (no screws or flukes), 2 ropes, plus a few pulleys, extra biners, slings, atc's etc. I always see climbers wearing helmets on that route, but there's not much rockfall hazard there to worry about, & we didn't use them. I'm planning to do Glacier peak in a day this weekend, then Rainier Labor day weekend. It's been a great season!

[This message has been edited by Kyle (edited 08-23-2001).]

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Thanks for the input. My partner and I are trying to decide between the Coleman-Deming and Fisher Chimneys. I'm leaning towards the Chimneys...

It sounds like you had a lot of people-- it will be just the two of us and I'm more inclined to go fast and light. We'll try to leave as much as possible at home. I just love sprinting past climbers laden down with tons of useless gear.

Indeed it has been a great season! Have fun on Glacier!

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Matt,

With all due respect...

Just curious, do you consider rescue gear as useless equipment? I wouldn't feel comfortable about leaving that stuff behind on a glacier route. You probably won't use it, but what if??? Would you just rely on other climbers to help you out?

Your bro, matt

[This message has been edited by lambone (edited 08-23-2001).]

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I have climbed Baker, Rainier, & other peaks with minimal gear (meaning no pickets etc), and we saw similar parties "hiking" up Baker last weekend. As I learned more about what gear you need to mount even the most basic rescue, I've gotten more conservative in my approach. Sure carrying a picket or 2 might slow me down a bit, but it's like a first aid kit- you might never need to use it, but when you do you'll be glad to have it.

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I would argue that if you are not skilled in using the equipment, than it is not worth carrying, be it a picket or first aid kit.

With a two man team, it seems you are pushing the saftey envelope. If a bridge colapsess and one member goes in, he better be ready to climb back out. If they can't climb out, then their partner is faced with a serious challange. This challanging rescue would be mission impossible without any means of building an anchor, etc...

I'd be very reluctant to bring 0 rescue gear,instead I'd try to carry the lightest stuff possible-Ti-blocks instead of mechanical ascenders, etc.

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No, I don't think rescue gear is useless. No, I do not expect to be rescued by other climbers. In fact, it has been the case that I've had to help out my fellow climbers on more than once occasion. The truth is I have so much gear that often I want to bring much more than I need. Let's say I climb the Fisher Chimneys this weekend. Do I need 5 ice screws? Or a small assortment of wired nuts? Or a second tool? Or my 11mm x 60 meter rope? Or my ascenders? Or a GPS ( I don't have one)? The list goes on and on. I see lots of people loaded down with unnecessary gear. I too have succumbed to "unnecessary gear" and frankly it's stupid. I even considered bringing skis--UNNECESSARY!!

Kyle-- I was not trying to say you are stupid. On the contrary, thank you for sharing with me what you brought and what experience has taught you. I will bring all the requisite stuff.

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Matt-

A friend of mine did the Fisher Chimney route over this past weekend. Unfortunately they had two Snow Bridges collapse on them above Wiinies Slide/ Curtis Glacier...be carefull.

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erik the use of 11mm rope in mountaineering is seriously underestimated. when you do a forced bivy, a 70m 11mm rope is much warmer when wrapped around you than is a 50m 8.5mm.

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i learned that if you are enduring a forced bivi, you should hit your partner in the head, take his clothes and food. not everyone has to suffer, just the unassuming!

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OK Matt,

Relax, I wasn't trying to offend you here. I am well aware that you are a competent climber. As I said, I was just curious what you considered to be unnecessary, and what you were planing to leave behind. Thats all. Sorry if I ruffeled your feathers. Lord knows that I am the master of slow and heavy techniques.

Anyway, have fun! Let me know how it goes!

[This message has been edited by lambone (edited 08-23-2001).]

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Forced bivis are another good reason to go climbing with an attractive partner - almost as good as the recommended treatment for hypothermia wink.gif

however,if unfortunately your partner is a hairy type with a large paunch I guess you could always do the Luke-on-Hoth thing, slit him open and crawl inside though...

Hey - 4:20 grin.gif time to step outside and enjoy life

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I was also on the North Side of Baker over the weekend. It is very icy and sking it would be challenging as there are sections of exposed glacier ice throughout the route.

With proper training and proper gear, two man glacier travel does not push the limit in the Cascades. However, proper training does indicate that you should be able to build an anchor and haul an unconscious partner out of a crevasse by yourself. Practice doing this by yourself, of course, makes perfect.

Jason

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Practice may make perfect, but I believe that practice will prove to most people that, in reality, a single rescuer is going to be very hard pressed to get his unconcious buddy out of a crevasse. Try it when you are well rested and the conditions are perfect, and it is nearly impossible. Then imagine trying it with a lot of soft snow on the surface or when you are cold and tired. No disrespect, Jason, but I believe that if one truly wants to travel with a good margin of safety, a party larger than two is a good idea. I climb with two, but I realize the risk that I am taking.

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Thanks Chris for the tip-- I'm sure my partner will appreciate it.

Mattp, you are so right. In cases where there is a party of two, the person who falls into the cravass has to be able to get him/herself out. In some situations one person cannot pull a partner out alone. I worry about my partner getting wedged into the bottom of a cravasse. Truly this is my nightmare!!!

Dru-- You seem to be the master of animation on this site. Do you think you could find something to fully illustrate the "Luke-on-hoth" technique of bivying?

Lambone-- I'm going to "Luke-on-Hoth" YOU if you're not careful!

[This message has been edited by Matt (edited 08-24-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Matt (edited 08-29-2001).]

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i would asume your regular snow climbing gear, ice axe, crampons, gaiter, cravasse resuce equipment, rope etc.

aidan

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MattP,

I agree one hundred percent. Three people on a team is far safer than two. However, given proper training and technique a two man team can be very safe in the Cascades.

Let me reemphasize a couple of points in this statement and that of my previous posting.

First, proper training and technique. It is incredibly important to practice crevasse rescue on a glacier as opposed to in one's own back yard. This means dropping your partner down a hole, building and anchor, and pulling him out. This is not a one time thing. You should do it over again and again and again. Burn an entire weekend on this... Then when the conditions are bad, it's the middle of the night, and wet snow is falling, you might be able to do a rescue.

Not only that, but the reality of the matter is that soft snow is easier to build an anchor in and easier to arrest a fall in. That is as opposed to semi-exposed ice.

While practicing, it's not a bad idea to back your partner up with a spare end of the rope in case you can't pull him out.

Secondly, I stated that the risks can be managed in the Cascades. Most crevasse falls in the Cascades where a person goes in over his head take place from tripping and falling into a crevasse from above, not from a bridge collapse. Most of the risky crevasse crossings that take place in the Cascades are made with full knowledge of the fact that one is crossing a hole. As a result the rope tends to remain tight and most of the time when the bridge collapses the person doesn't go in very far.

With proper technique, the liklihood of tripping and falling is reduced. With proper training, one should be able to pull his partner out of a hole rather quickly by himself, no matter how bad the conditions are.

If you disagree, take a course on how to do this from a guide service. You will see just how manageable the risks really are.

Jason

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Jason -

I bet you are absolutely right about the cause of most crevasse falls in Washington. Because of our weather patterns, the bridges tend to sag before they get weak enough to collapse under a climber and they aren early always detectable (unlike, say, Alaska).

I have put a foot through, but I have never heard of an experienced alpine climber actually falling into a crevasse in the Cascades, except after freshly fallen snow in early season. Has anybody here heard of such an incident?

Mattp

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The one crevasse-accident experience I have had was on the Interglacier, in September, I think, about 8 or 9 years ago. We'd climbed up to Camp Shurman, four of us including two novices. We roped up all the way up, which is slow and tedious work with novices, and of course the Interglacier was full of unroped parties, and people talking about how it's a "dead" glacier so there's no crevasse danger. So, on the way down, we didn't rope up after clambering up off the Emmons. And, the leader, the most experienced and the one with the rope in his pack, punched into a completely hidden crevasse. He managed to catch himself with his armpits, and I extended my ice axe and drug him out. This was about 30 feet from the edge of the glacier, and we were quite conflicted about whether to rope up now, or just make a break for it.

Now, this wasn't early season, it was late season, on a heavily travelled route. I don't remember whether we were actually following boot tracks or not, (I think we must have been.) I'm sure there were over fifty people up there that day alone.

Because it was so narrow, he was able to catch himself. If it had been large enough that he couldn't have caught himself, it probably would have been open by then. (Maybe not.)

It really got me serious about glacier safely. Keep the rope taut, and don't take chances. A "dead" glacier is just as dangerous as a "live" one (ever been stung by a dead bee?) And, if you're going to the trouble of bringing a rope, for God's sake, use it!

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