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Dr John Lowder, Was [pct-l] Re: ice axe

> From: Slyatpct@aol.com
> To: brick@fastpack.com; pct-l@backcountry.net
> Subject: Re: Dr John Lowder, Was [pct-l] Re: ice axe
> Date: Friday, February 22, 2002 6:18 PM
>.  He was most likely in whiteout 
> conditions when he fell and may not have had time to react.  The others 
> bivouacked.
> Sly

What does a whiteout have to do with putting in a self arrest?  It should
be automatic and absolutely as fast as possible.

Statements like "I am going to be slow, and traveling in somebody else's
footprints, do I need an Ice axe?"  make me think that even if this person
had an ice ax and practice on how to use it, they still may not be safe. 
There needs to be some realism about what the consequences to sliding down
a small snow slope and hitting rocks , or going into a freezing lake, or
over a cliff involve.  Some of the most dangerous areas are very small snow
slopes interspersed with pieces of the trail early in the morning.  How
many people go out on dangerous slopes with the ice ax on their pack?