Mt. Baker June 4 2004 - Page 3 - ClubTread Community

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post #31 of (permalink) Old 06-07-2004, 09:02 PM
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Nice job,guys!You know you're on a serious mountain when you get a whiff of sulfur.Thanks for the report,it's a great read...
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post #32 of (permalink) Old 06-07-2004, 10:10 PM
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Wow!! Looks great you guys!

Nice report
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post #33 of (permalink) Old 06-07-2004, 10:25 PM
 
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Hiker Boy

Sandy, standing under seracs is unavoidable until you get over the Roman Headwall.
The general idea is not to stand under them but to keep moving as quickly as is practical and safe.

Quote:
quote: Sure, familiarity breeds comtempt, but maybe it is reasonable to assume snow bridges are OK if 40 other people have tromped over them and no significant changes in the snowpack have occurred.
I agree likely reasonable to make an exception to the rule then.
I am a nervous soul and would likely stick with the traditional conservative safety measures. Regarding the rope issue...I once on a big glacier put my right leg through a bridge where there was no sign of a crevasse. My leg was jammed in up to the hip such that I could not move my thigh but I was able to move my knee and foot freely. A sick feeling. My buddy at the other end of the rope was chattering on about how I must be over weight since he did not go through. I suggested he make sure he was secure and I fought back with joking complaints of the weight of the gear in my pack. All was well after that squirming out but left with the uncertainty of how deep and wide a hole I was over.
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post #34 of (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Tad Tired


The general idea is not to stand under them but to keep moving as quickly as is practical and safe.
No kidding? doh! []




----------------------------------------
"Function is beauty"
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post #35 of (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Hiker Boy

Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Tad Tired


The general idea is not to stand under them but to keep moving as quickly as is practical and safe.
No kidding? doh! []
I agree it seems obvious, but we all seem to have different opinions of those big blocks of snow/ice that Anton and Eugene are walking under. I think they are serac blocks and if one serac can fall, so can many others, so I would avoid that area as much as possible (detouring to the left looks possible and will significantly reduce the hazard). Other people think they are blocks of regular avalanche debris and might conclude that the slope is safe because it has avalanched.
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post #36 of (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 09:36 AM
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Once again...there is no way to detour around where the seracs collapse. They fall off those cliffs and bounce down the Coleman like a bowling alley. It's long way to cross to get up to the saddle. One way or the other, you have to cross their path. I have seen big blocks come down between teams. It's just an accepted hazard of this route. It's even worse later on in the year when you have to zig zag around open crevasses on the route.

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post #37 of (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 10:58 AM
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Sandy, I am not an expert either and those big blocks looked to me as hybrid of an avalanche runoff and collapsed serac. Collapsed serac is because some of the bigger blocks had a transparent icy core suggesting the glacier origin; avalanche is because the amount of snow released would be hard to explain by a few big chunks of ice chipped from the ice field.

Taking left and going around the runoff didn't seem like a safer route as there we would need to cross a big crevasse recognizable by a slight depression in the snow. Also, I can be wrong, but general logic suggested that if those huge blocks of ice didn't break anything underneath then our 90kg will barely change anything.

One more observation: not very far from that ice\snow debris there was a huge, size of a big truck, chunk of ice that came down all in one piece. It didn't trigger any secondary falls and skid for some 150-200m leaving a long and smooth track behind ( I really regret about missing this picture). Looking at how far it traveled I thought that there is no a safe zone there – you are either away from the broken trail and hazards from the above but into more dense crevasses or you are on the trail, more confident about crevasses but less about seracs.

On the way back we faced the decision whether to follow our morning trail through the derris or go around and both felt safer retracing back than going into a new, untouched snow, already weakened by a midday sun.

I very appreciate all the comments concerning the safety; IMHO analyzing the real life scenarios is the best way to learn.
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post #38 of (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 01:13 PM
 
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Hiker Boy

Originally posted by Hiker Boy

Sandy, standing under seracs is unavoidable until you get over the Roman Headwall.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Tad Tired


The general idea is not to stand under them but to keep moving as quickly as is practical and safe.
No kidding? doh! []
You said it I didn't.
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post #39 of (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 02:20 PM
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I remember walking up the Columbia icefields with my dad. I had on fairly light clothing and a pair of milspec combat boots. When we got back down, we found out that a local guide had been standing up at the bottom of the glacier trying to tell people that we were fools and should only go up the glacier with a trained guide.

When my father found out, he was furious.

Maybe the guide was right, but I woulden't have tried to use other people as a bad example to drum up business your way.

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post #40 of (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by Anton

Also, I can be wrong, but general logic suggested that if those huge blocks of ice didn't break anything underneath then our 90kg will barely change anything.
I may not be understanding you, it sounds as if you are concerned about the serac fall triggering an avalanche (or perhaps destroying a snow bridge). As you say, that is hardly a worry, a huge serac or cornice fall is about the best slope stability test there is. I 'd be more worried about one falling on my head.

The standard route up to the Columbia Icefields has a similar problem. The middle of the glacier is wrapped with multiple crevasses that are typically poorly bridged, so the usual route is to skirt around the side where there are somewhat fewer crevasses but the exposure to serac fall from the top of Snowdome is high. It is customary to get through as fast as possible.
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post #41 of (permalink) Old 06-08-2004, 04:26 PM
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I thought the other option suggested was to go around the secars\avalanche debris to lower the exposure to possible new falls. I was saying that each route had its own pros and cons.

Here is the summary of the options:

Going further down from the ice fall - more crevasses, *untested* snow, risk of being hit by small (snow) debris is lower, risk of being reached by huge ice blocks is the same, no trail to follow, longer route

Going somewhat closer to the ice fall – less crevasses, there is a broken, although old trail, better confidence in the slope and bridges (they survived the huge blocks fall), risk from small debris is higher, risk from big chunks is the same, optimal route distance

Going right under the ice wall – no crevasses to worry about, no trail, whatever chips and comes from the above is guaranteed to be yours.

Out of these three the second route seemed to be the least hazardous although still very unsafe, especially in the heat of the day.
Sounds similar to what you, Sandy describe about the Columbia Icefields.
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