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

Good point, Joanne.  I once did a weekend PCT hike from Vincent Gap to
Baden Powell in late June.  I didn't expect any snow, and it was warm
enough to hike in t-shirt and thin pants.  The upper switchbacks were
full of snow--long patches that crossed several switchbacks.  Crossing
one of these snow fields on the trail, I slipped and slid down to the
next place the trail crossed the snow--a long slide that did plenty of
road-rash type damage to my bare forearms.  Did any of us have an ice
axe?  Of course not. It made me think about how much worse it could be. 
I know how to self-arrest, having taken the class, but don't own an ice
axe, and have always tried to avoid being in a place I would need one. 
Who knew Baden Powell in June could be one of those places?
Marion Davison

Joanne Lennox wrote:
> 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?
> Joanne
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