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Hood/Baker/Rainer Getting on Ice


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Caleb Nosak · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2018 · Points: 0

Hi,
My buddy Greg Bone and I would like to do as much climbing in Washington this June as we can. He is 23 and Im 21 and were both in great shape. He has climbed numerous 14ers all over CO. Ive also been ice climbing in CO. Also, I have been climbing trees for several years as an arborist, so I'm familiar with knots and comfortable on ropes. Last week we climbed Kit Carson via the outward bound couloir. I have extensive backpacking experience in California, Colorado, and Arkansas. Glaciers is both something we've never experienced, and we understand the danger of crevasses. Ideal partner would be anyone planning a trip this June who would enjoy teaching us a few things we dont know already, like crevasse rescue. Frankly, we are both in college; we can scrape up the cash for gear but not $2000 for a guide whose going to cook all our meals and tell us how many undies to pack. We have axes, crampons, boots, he even has a rope and one screw. Were limited in gear and knowledge when it comes to crevasses avoidance

Are we overthinking it? Would purchasing our own crevasse gear, reading up on the topic and practicing ourselves be enough?

nixoriugis · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

Any chance for June 18th to 23rd? I have climbed high a bit in Mexico and South America (5 6000+m including Aconcagua) and am looking to climb more snow now. I'm mostly looking at Baker and Shuksan as I will be coming from Canada, but really anything with snow and available permits could do.
Have you considered taking a glacier travel course? I'm sure there are plenty of opportunities for 1-2 day courses in CO or WA and I have found them to be much more cost effective than a guide if your goal is further unguided climbs.

Caleb Nosak · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2018 · Points: 0

I could definitely do those dates. My buddy and I are talking about a course, but I just picked up the micro traxion, pulley, and tibloc. Creating a 3-1 is so simple we may just practice it on our own. Then the thing we still don't know much about is how to avoid crevasses... and building solid anchors.

Anthony L · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 25
Caleb Nosak wrote: I could definitely do those dates. My buddy and I are talking about a course, but I just picked up the micro traxion, pulley, and tibloc. Creating a 3-1 is so simple we may just practice it on our own. Then the thing we still don't know much about is how to avoid crevasses... and building solid anchors.

I'd say that an understanding of anchor systems before going for bigger stuff in the mountains is absolutely paramount.  Or hire a guide.  

Caleb Nosak · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2018 · Points: 0
Anthony L wrote:

I'd say that an understanding of anchor systems before going for bigger stuff in the mountains is absolutely paramount.  Or hire a guide.  

Of course, I think at the very least we will still take a Crevasse course

Anthony L · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 25
Caleb Nosak wrote:

Of course, I think at the very least we will still take a Crevasse course

If you're solid building anchors, I'd just read everything I can and watch all of the videos on the interwebs. There are lots of good resources. I'm broke like you, so I'm always trying to save a buck. Glacier travel involves tons of moving parts and you can easily learn all of those moving parts without taking a crevasse course, especially if you understand anchors and hauling and have a willingness to learn. It's basically a matter of putting all the skills together in a cohesive system. If you don't hire a guide, you could test your skills on a less intense glacier - such as Shuksan or Hood - before going for Rainier or Baker. Of course, this is just my opinion and I don't know your time constraints or how much you want to figure shit out by yourself.

Caleb Nosak · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2018 · Points: 0
Anthony L wrote:

If you're solid building anchors, I'd just read everything I can and watch all of the videos on the interwebs. There are lots of good resources. I'm broke like you, so I'm always trying to save a buck. Glacier travel involves tons of moving parts and you can easily learn all of those moving parts without taking a crevasse course, especially if you understand anchors and hauling and have a willingness to learn. It's basically a matter of putting all the skills together in a cohesive system. If you don't hire a guide, you could test your skills on a less intense glacier - such as Shuksan or Hood - before going for Rainier or Baker. Of course, this is just my opinion and I don't know your time constraints or how much you want to figure shit out by yourself.

Im in college and off all of June so honestly the dream is to some how bum it up there and climb as much as I can. Ive read some really good articles and studying on building anchors, the angles to make and driving a snow anchor vs deadman. Whats a good resource for learning how to build anchors?

Anthony L · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 25
Caleb Nosak wrote:

Im in college and off all of June so honestly the dream is to some how bum it up there and climb as much as I can. Ive read some really good articles and studying on building anchors, the angles to make and driving a snow anchor vs deadman. Whats a good resource for learning how to build anchors?

John Long's book.  Freedom of the Hills. I've even seen stuff on AMGA blogs. 


But, ultimately, if you live anywhere with rocks, you can build anchors on the ground for practice!
Caleb Nosak · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2018 · Points: 0
Anthony L wrote:

John Long's book.  Freedom of the Hills. I've even seen stuff on AMGA blogs. 


But, ultimately, if you live anywhere with rocks, you can build anchors on the ground for practice!

Awesome Thanks!

George K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

Building a 3-1 is simple.  However, building a 3-1 without exposing anyone to unnecessary danger is not.  It's difficult to do and requires quite a bit of practice (and understanding of why and how).

Furthermore if you have no skills with snow anchors then you have no business of being on glacier.  Instead take a day (or 2) to play with pickets.  Bury deadman, see if you can pull it out. Then stick in snow and compare.  It's a little tricky (upwards pull on a stake? it's coming out!), but well worth it.

I'd recommend doing Rainier (DC route). It's the safest (due to location, many other people, controlled route). Make sure to check the weather and only go if it's great. That way you'll have a route that has ladders around known crevasses and there's hundreds of people near you that can help\assist. Make sure to bring pickets, they'll be more useful then screws most of the year.

Do not go to Baker (especially later season). There's crevasses galore, you'll have less people around and route is not as clean and tidy.

I'd also recommend against Hood.  Very sharp ascent\descent that requires a bit of finangling with your crampons. I'd recomend being comfortalbe with sharp slopes and crampons first.

Anthony L · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 25
George K wrote: Building a 3-1 is simple.  However, building a 3-1 without exposing anyone to unnecessary danger is not.  It's difficult to do and requires quite a bit of practice (and understanding of why and how).

Furthermore if you have no skills with snow anchors then you have no business of being on glacier.  Instead take a day (or 2) to play with pickets.  Bury deadman, see if you can pull it out. Then stick in snow and compare.  It's a little tricky (upwards pull on a stake? it's coming out!), but well worth it.

I'd recommend doing Rainier (DC route). It's the safest (due to location, many other people, controlled route). Make sure to check the weather and only go if it's great. That way you'll have a route that has ladders around known crevasses and there's hundreds of people near you that can help\assist. Make sure to bring pickets, they'll be more useful then screws most of the year.

Do not go to Baker (especially later season). There's crevasses galore, you'll have less people around and route is not as clean and tidy.

I'd also recommend against Hood.  Very sharp ascent\descent that requires a bit of finangling with your crampons. I'd recomend being comfortalbe with sharp slopes and crampons first.

This is great information. And remember that everything can be made more difficult when you factor in stress, fatigue, and adrenaline.


But even the DC isn't without objective danger, especially once you throw in traffic jams and what not. (Just thought I should make that known.)

It's really hard to know what you should or shouldn't try without knowing your previous experience(s). It seems like you have minimal experience, and you said you're in college so I'll assume you're young, so I'd just take it really slow if I were you.  Like George said, snow/ice travel is a skill on it's own that you should get comfortable with! As I said before, there are tons of moving parts - just go down the list and learn the skill sets. There are lots of great climbs that involve no/minimal glacial travel or have minimal objective danger on the glacier.  There's lots of ways to learn, but the most important thing is to stay safe!
nixoriugis · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0
Caleb Nosak wrote: I could definitely do those dates. My buddy and I are talking about a course, but I just picked up the micro traxion, pulley, and tibloc. Creating a 3-1 is so simple we may just practice it on our own. Then the thing we still don't know much about is how to avoid crevasses... and building solid anchors.

Great. I will write you a private message later today.

Gerrit Verbeek · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

I would 100% recommend Glacier Mountaineering: An Illustrated Guide To Glacier Travel And Crevasse Rescue by Tyson and Clelland. It's fun to read and covers a huge amount of information in a memorable way. Anchors, rescue, sled rigging, reading glaciers, rope travel, knot systems, snow shelters, setting up camp...

George K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0
Gerrit Verbeek wrote: I would 100% recommend Glacier Mountaineering: An Illustrated Guide To Glacier Travel And Crevasse Rescue by Tyson and Clelland. It's fun to read and covers a huge amount of information in a memorable way. Anchors, rescue, sled rigging, reading glaciers, rope travel, knot systems, snow shelters, setting up camp...

Highly recommend this book!  I found it randomly in a book shop and by far this is the BEST small book. I was really impressed with how in-depth and detail they go. Get the book and read it, it's like $15.

(You don't need traxion or ascenders for any of the 3 you listed for example. Prussiks are great.. and they aren't any fixed lines to ascend on Hood/Baker. Rainier has some but you just biner into them)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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