The conventional wisdom is that loose snow will not stay long on a steep surface. But occasionally you encounter circumstances that seem to defy the rules, such as a short slope with snow well-anchored by boulders or by a wind-sculpted snow trough. Normal step-kicking won't work because the snow is too loose, nor is delicate footwork the answer. You must use your whole body to flail your way up the slope. An ice axe placed horizontally may be the only handhold, and you move upward on your knees rather than your feet. Rarely is the effort graceful.
At times, it takes a snow shovel to literally dig a path through the snow. Alternatively, teammates may pool their energies and toss the smallest member ahead in order to consolidate the path.
Continue reading here: Expedition Climbing
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