Ice Practice - 9/16/00
by Spencer Wood

Attendees: L. Clunes, B. Freund, D. Lacer, K. Vertanen, S. Wood, K. Blackburn,
I. Morris, D. Craig (guest)

Mt. Hood's North side;
Elliott Glacier headwall

Bob Freund shows ankle flexibility
using the 'French Technique'
What a spectacular day to be on Mt. Hood! It was everything that an ice practice should be. The day started leisurely with the hike to Elliot glacier, where we donned points and helmets. Our first exercise: route-finding! We were leaping great chasms and tip-toeing across knife-edges of ice, laughing at death all the while...or something like that. It turned into a great warm up as well as good crampon practice.

On the glacier, we began our review of the basics: crampon use and self arrest. First, Don covered crampon techniques and reviewed differences between French and German steps. After some practice, everyone was cruising up and down our practice slope, looking like a regular Edmund Hillary. After lunch, the group moved west for self arrest training. Again, Don (and his lovely assistant Keith) explained the proper techniques and demonstrated how to arrest a fall. So, a better part of our afternoon was spent sliding down the slope...frontwards, backwards, sideways...however we could think of (and as fast as possible!) Back on the glacier again, Bob gave a short refresher in ice and snow anchors. Everyone practiced placing ice screws and reviewed the basics of multi-anchor systems.
Don Lacer tries to regain control
before the next crevasse!

Spencer Woods adding some tips
So, with all these skills under our (harness) belts and fresh in our minds, we culminated the day with roped team travel and crevasse rescue. Three teams headed up the glacier, weaving around open crevasses and practiced being roped together. It wasn't long before everyone was travelling like experts and ready for a new challenge. So, after finding a suitable crevasse, each team demonstrated different crevasse rescue techniques. Team one demonstrated how to set up an anchor and let the fallen partner simply prusik out of the crevasse alone. Team two (Bob and Don) left Don at the top to single-handedly rescue Bob from the clutches of death. Don decided to use a Z-pulley system and had Bob back on the glacier in under 15 minutes! Team three then used the single-pulley system and gave an excellent demonstration.

The group back in the icefall
to set some ice screws
By that time the sun was starting to get we called it a day, strolled back to Cloud Cap, and finished comfortably in Lindsay's lawn chairs...

Picking up the gear at
the end of the day

To see more photos, click here.

Photos by Lindsay Clunes