Trip Report: Mountaineering Snow Skills Practice

Mountaineering Snow Skills Practice
By Mark Maier
CLIMBING 04/23/2022 NTD+

With the closing of the ski resorts we headed out to have a day of snow skills practice. Snowbasin opened to uphill travel so we took advantage of their large terrain. The day was suitably not-quite-still-winter, with sun and snow squalls alternating all day long.

The group started practice with handling the ice axe and moving up and down hill. We tried for some self-arrest practice, but the snow was too soft to do much more than drop and roll. No glissade lasted more than five feet.

Snow conditions were good for anchoring. We worked through pickets, T-anchors (including a Nalgene bottle), flukes and even ice screws. The group pull tested everything vigorously, getting four people a rope to haul. Some anchors were bomber, some popped, and we investigated how small differences in placement can lead to big differences in strength. For completeness we pull tested people in self-arrest and belay positions as well.

After lunch we set up for crevasse rescue, running through a standard three-on-a-rope drill. We got our first victim hauled up with a couple of different mechanical advantage systems and called it a day.

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