Safety Considerations

The mountain walking techniques presented here are designed to reduce the hazards of rock fall and loss of control leading to a fall. Carelessness can cause the failure of the best-planned missions.

a. Whenever a rock is kicked loose, the warning, "Rock!" is shouted immediately. Personnel near the bottom of the cliff immediately lean into the cliff to reduce their exposure, and do not look up. Personnel more than 3 meters away from the bottom of the cliff may look up to determine where the rock is heading and seek cover behind an obstacle. Lacking cover, personnel should anticipate which way the rock is falling and move out of its path to the left or right.

b. If a soldier slips or stumbles on sloping terrain (hard ground, grass, snow, or scree) he must immediately self-arrest, digging into the slope with hands, elbows, knees and toes. If he falls backwards and rolls over he must immediately try to turn over onto his stomach with his legs downhill and self-arrest with hands and toes.

c. When traveling through steep terrain, soldiers should be trained in the use of the ice ax for self-arrest. The ax can be used to arrest a fall on solid ground, grass and scree as well as snow. It may also be used as a third point of contact on difficult terrain. If not in use the ice ax is carried in or on the rucksack with its head down and secured.

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