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A different type of trip report - Mountaineer's Route
#52972 04/26/18 07:08 PM
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Hi everyone,

I've found it really helpful to watch videos of people who have been up to the summit recently, as I feel like a video can provide so much more information than photos.

With that in mind, I thought I'd share my group's most recent trip to the Mt. Whitney summit via the Mountaineer's Route (April 20-22, 2018).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrxcL4neDkc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrxcL4neDkc

Hope you enjoy!


Re: A different type of trip report - Mountaineer's Route
hikingnerd #52978 04/28/18 04:14 PM
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Thanks for sharing this video!

The E-Ledges look way more intimidating in the video than they are in real life.

I've never used an ice ax. Do you normally use two hands to anchor it into the snow/ice?

Re: A different type of trip report - Mountaineer's Route
hikingnerd #52979 04/28/18 08:30 PM
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Wow, they still haven't replaced the door. I figured they'd want to do it before winter to avoid damage to the interior.

Re: A different type of trip report - Mountaineer's Route
futbol #52980 04/28/18 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted By: futbol
I've never used an ice ax. Do you normally use two hands to anchor it into the snow/ice?

There are many correct ways to hold an axe, depending on the terrain. On moderate terrain, you usually hold it like a cane, with the spike (the end of the handle) sticking into the snow. You can hold it by the head in the “low dagger” position, sticking the pick into the snow at waist level. You can hold it by the head in the “high dagger” position, sticking the pick into the snow above your head. On technical ice, you hold it by the handle and swing the pick into the ice. For self-arrest, you use two hands and stick the pick into the snow to stop. You also use two hands to control your speed in a glissade. It’s best to get some instruction before going out with an axe.

Re: A different type of trip report - Mountaineer's Route
WanderingJim #52981 04/28/18 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted By: WanderingJim
Wow, they still haven't replaced the door. I figured they'd want to do it before winter to avoid damage to the interior.

Every time they replace the door, somebody vandalizes it. I think it's a lost cause.

Re: A different type of trip report - Mountaineer's Route
bobpickering #52983 04/28/18 11:56 PM
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Or wind rips it loose in a storm.

Re: A different type of trip report - Mountaineer's Route
Steve C #52985 04/29/18 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted By: Steve C
Or wind rips it loose in a storm.

… after somebody destroys the doorknob/latch so it’s impossible to secure the door closed in a storm.

Re: A different type of trip report - Mountaineer's Route
bobpickering #52986 04/29/18 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted By: bobpickering
Originally Posted By: futbol
I've never used an ice ax. Do you normally use two hands to anchor it into the snow/ice?

There are many correct ways to hold an axe, depending on the terrain. On moderate terrain, you usually hold it like a cane, with the spike (the end of the handle) sticking into the snow. You can hold it by the head in the “low dagger” position, sticking the pick into the snow at waist level. You can hold it by the head in the “high dagger” position, sticking the pick into the snow above your head. On technical ice, you hold it by the handle and swing the pick into the ice. For self-arrest, you use two hands and stick the pick into the snow to stop. You also use two hands to control your speed in a glissade. It’s best to get some instruction before going out with an axe.


Thanks Bob.

I also noticed that he had the ax tied with a lanyard to himself. That seems like a great idea in case you lose your footing and drop the ax, You might be able to recover it before sliding down a slope.

Re: A different type of trip report - Mountaineer's Route
futbol #52990 04/30/18 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted By: futbol
I also noticed that he had the ax tied with a lanyard to himself. That seems like a great idea in case you lose your footing and drop the ax, You might be able to recover it before sliding down a slope.

Tying your axe to your body prevents losing the axe, but if you fall and drop the axe, it may beat you to death while you tumble down the mountain. I usually use a leash around my wrist. It should be the right length for the two-handed self-arrest or for swinging the axe with one hand.

Re: A different type of trip report - Mountaineer's Route
hikingnerd #53035 05/07/18 08:34 AM
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There's definitely pros and cons to using different kinds of leashes or not using one at all. I can say that I chose to use a stretchy leash tethered to my waist/hipbelt because I wanted to be able to easily switch hands with the ice axe when we were doing switchbacks (so that the axe is in the uphill hand). My ice axe came with a wrist leash but it's not long enough where I could keep it on one wrist but use the axe in the other hand, so I chose to forego it.

My view is that regardless of whether you're leashed or not, it's bad if you are moving and your ice axe slips out of your grip. I prefer the peace of mind knowing that during those moments when I'm not needing the ice axe (e.g. when I've braced myself in the snow during a break), my ice axe isn't going anywhere. If I'm falling down the mountain and the leashed+flailing axe is stabbing me, I've already done something really wrong and that needs to be avoided. Equally bad is if I'm falling down the mountain without the ice axe. But let's not get into this great debate smile


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