The Masters


Jeff Ward - IFMGA/AMGA Guide

Jeff Ward is an IFMGA-licensed and AMGA-certified Alpine, Ski and Rock Guide. He grew up in the Northwest and is co-owner of North Cascades Mountain Guides (www.ncmountainguides.com) based in Mazama. Ward is a lead instructor for the American Mountain Guides Association and serves on their technical committee.



Martin Volken - IFMGA Guide

Martin Volken is the founder and owner of Pro Guiding Service and Pro Ski and Mountain Service in North Bend, WA. He is a certified IFMGA Swiss Mountain Guide and guides over 120 days per year in North America and Europe as a ski, rock and alpine guide. Volken has pioneered several steep ski descents, ski traverses, alpine and rock routes in the Washington Cascades. He has been a member of the AMGA examiner team since 2000 and has authored and co-authored three books on ski touring and ski mountaineering.

Got a question about climbing? Submit your question in the Ask the Master forum and either Jeff Ward or Martin Volken will supply the answer.

AMGA GUIDES' TIPS
How to Place an Ice Screw
How to Place an Ice Screw
 

Ask the Master: Late Summer Glacier Travel

16-Aug-2016
By Martin Volken (IFMGA Guide)

What is the best way to build an anchor in late summer glacier conditions? In old, hard late summer snow? When I bring a picket, the snow is too hard to hammer it in. If I bring screws, they are sort of useless as when there is exposed ice I can see crevasses anyway. I'm usually on a two-person team, so a dead man is too tricky while arresting.

 —Arran, via Ask the Master forum

 

Martin Volken, owner of Pro Guiding Service and Pro Ski and Mountain Service in North Bend, WA, is a certified IFMGA Swiss Mountain Guide and guides in North America and Europe. He has been a member of the AMGA examiner team since 2000.Good preparedness for summer glacier travel can be a bit tricky. I deal with this very often, since the North Cascades hold precisely the snow you are talking about. Too soft for an ice screw and almost too hard for a Picket in the late summer. What to do?

Well, you mentioned it. A dead man anchor while holding the fallen person is most likely what might have to happen. There is nothing elegant about arresting a fall and then building an anchor. It is the often glanced over, but totally crucial component of a successful crevasse rescue mission.

Very often though a set of equalized Pickets will work, and if nothing else you might be able to pound in an intermittent Picket and clip it to your "Prussik sling type," while you are digging the dead man. It might just take the needed amount of weight off your harness during that time. I generally still bring one or two ice screws, just in case. They might also come in handy in case of needed self rescue if you have to have to anchor yourself to the wall momentarily. Most importantly you have to practice this with a real load on you. There is not substitute.

—Martin Volken

 

Got a question about climbing? Submit your question in the Ask the Master forum and Martin Volken will supply the answer.

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