Use of Crampons in Snow Climbing

In soft snow crampons may be more of a hindrance than an aid in climbing, The snow will often form a clump between the points, making a heavy, rounded mass that is slippery and awkward to walk on. When you must wear crampons in soft snow, a shuffling gait will keep clumping to a minimum. In the worst conditions, however, you will find it necessary to knock the clumps off with the spike of your axe, sometimes on each step. A plastic or rubber plate that attaches to the bottom of the crampon between the points to reduce snowballing is available for some models. You can also fashion your own anti-balling piate from a sheet of plastic wired to the crampon frame.

When the snow is firm or overlays ice or rock, crampons become more necessary. In frozen nivi you will find your points sinking all the way in under body weight, but your feet will stay on the surface. This condition is an ice climber's dream, and very steep slopes can be ascended with ease and security. On the other hand, sloppy wet snow over ice or powder snow over rock can make even gentle terrain quite hair-raising, in these conditions it is often best to frontpoint even on moderate angles, kicking hard to get through the slush, compact the snow into a platform, or attain some support from the underlying rock or ice,

Descending Snow tf there is no safe run-out, the slope is overly steep, or the snow is very hard, it is best to back down the hill, facing in and kicking your toes directly in. Keep your boot soles horizontal. Shove the shaft of your axe deeply into the snow, as low down as is comfortable before each step, thus providing a self-belay if your feet should slip. When the slope is long enough, the snow is good, and you feel confident that you can effect a self-arrest, it is faster to turn and face the valley, using the plunpcstep to go down. Lean far forward and transfer your weight completely with each step, digging your heels in deeply. Descent at a slight diagonal allows the spike and shaft of the axe to be planted low before each step for balance and as a safeguard against a slip, but when that isn't necessary, just walk down the slope with the axe in one or both hands, ready to arrest a fall. On spring and summer snow with a surface of sun-softened corn, you can skate down moderate-and lower-angled slopes in great diagonal strides, eating up distance in very little time. This is actually a modified glissade, which is the art of skiing down a slope on your boot soles.

Sitting gliiiod┬ź

Ciouching gtiisade

Statt┬┐Iti9 glissade, turning lift

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