Using The Rope

The first rule of glacier travel is very simple: rope up. This holds whether or not you're familiar with the glacier and whether or not you can see any crevasses.

It's tempting to walk unroped onto a glacier that

(Chapter 12 explains how to make your own wands.)

If the visibility is poor, the safest spacing for the wands is a distance equal to the total length of your party (when roped and moving in single file). On the way down, the party can "feel" its way if necessary. The last person in the line stops at each wand and doesn't continue until it is confirmed that the next wand has been found. If visibility is fairly good, space the wands farther apart.

A few other tips on wands: if you tilt each wand as you place it so that it points toward the one below, the search will be narrowed on the way down. Remember that you'll be looking from above for the wands on the return trip, so avoid placing them in hollows or on the down side of ridges where they'll be hard to see. Mark critical spots with some kind of code, such as two wands pointing in the new direction for a turn, or two wands crossing each other for a snow bridge or hidden crevasse.

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  • Carter
    How to make wands for mountaineering?
    8 years ago

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