Glissading is the intentional, controlled, rapid descent, or slide of a mountaineer down a steep slope covered with snow (Figure 10-15, page 10-14). Glissading is similar to skiing, except skis are not used. The same balance and control are necessary, but instead of skis the soles of the feet or the buttocks are used. The only piece of equipment required is the standard ice ax, which serves as the rudder, brake, and guide for the glissade. The two basic methods of glissading are:
a. Squatting Glissade. The squatting glissade is accomplished by placing the body in a semi-crouched position with both knees bent and the body weight directly over the feet. The ice ax is grasped with one hand on the head, pick, and adze outboard (away from the body), and the other hand on the shaft. The hand on the shaft grips it firmly in a position that allows control as well as the application of downward pressure on the spike of the ax.
b. Sitting Glissade. Using this method the glissader sits on the snow with the legs flat, and the heels and feet raised and pointed downslope. The ice ax is firmly grasped in the same manner as the squatting glissade, with the exception that the hand on the shaft must be locked against the hip for control. The sitting glissade is slower but easier to control than the squatting glissade.
c. Safety. A glissade should never be attempted on a slope where the bottom cannot be seen, since drop-offs may exist out of view. Also, a sitting glissade should not be used if the snow cover is thin, as painful injury could result.
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