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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 12:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 13, 2005 8:05 am
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Location: 395
I use a lightweight cassin "ghost" model, aluminum glacier style axe. I love this thing. It is short and weighs absolutely nothing. I have used it many times dropping into firm chutes on my toe edge. I strap it on my rear arm, which happens to be my dominant arm, and use it to plunge the shaft into firm windboard, boilerplate, etc... Going in toe edge allows you to face the mountain for easy self arrest and allows you to plunge the shaft all the way to the head so you can "wiggle" your board down to better snow where you are ready to start making turns. When riding I just hold it in my rear hand by the handle. This grip allows me to arrest whether I lose my toe or heel edge. Another benefit of riding w/ and axe on steep terrain is if you set off a slide on top of firm snow you can try to bury your axe in and let the snow slide around you. I haven't had to try this fortunately, but I bet you would have a better chance not getting swept down the mountain having an axe than not.

I have become very comfortable riding w/ my axe and almost fell naked w/out on steep terrain. Once I feel comfortable on the slope I either stop and put it in my pack or just undo the wrist strap so if I beater I can just toss it away.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:34 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 3:32 pm
Posts: 367
:shock: Wow, when I look down steep icy terrain like that in the (posted photo) I'm wondering more if I have toilet paper in my pack-not an ice axe! I've used one whippet while climbing in my uphill hand on hard snow/consequential fall traverses since they came out. Most times it has just saved the wear and tear of slipping over rocky surfaces and increased confidence with loosely laced softies and cliffs below. Day in day out I like the whippet as a lever to grab my heel lifters.
Zach, you must be saying you'd never ride pow @ 45 degrees plus when it is over nasty exposure and on windy mts. like Denali. I would say that 45-still under 50 is the most fun angle of all in Dry soft snow.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 8:12 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 01, 2004 12:45 pm
Posts: 158
Location: Reno
Not exactly...

It's just HIGHLY unlikely that you could find consistent powder on a mountain like Denali, on many of the faces above 14k.. at least, you wouldn't want to be on it in those conditions.

A face that is, say.. 5 miles wide and 5000' tall, is not a smart place to be in powder. You can pretty much guarantee that it will avalanche with the slightest touch.

Also, those faces just don't retain powder. After a storm, they avalanche. Period.

The one exception on Denali is the Orient Express.... it is a little bit more safe, because there are islands of rocks that help anchor it... still pretty freakin' scary, though.

With the extremely high winds, wildly fluctuating temperatures, and expansive scale; snowboarding in the greater ranges is a completely different game than local backcountry. It's usually pretty obvious what is going on with the snow... it's either hard-pack, icy, or getting ready to avalanche. Sometimes you get really luckly and get corn, and many times you can get amazing powder in smaller protected areas.

Zach

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 11:08 pm 
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Yikes, thanks for your response. I remember one of my of my only two trips to Alaska, there was a really good stable snowpack with old recrystallized powder. In some of the places I went, I couldn't help but wonder how one would best approach such enormous, unanchored and broad faces in a reasonable manner after a dump. Intimidating.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 11:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2004 6:51 pm
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Location: PNW
and then.. windslab is scarier avy than powder, AND you need an iceaxe. :shock:

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 11:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 4:18 pm
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Location: NW/BC/Montana
I'd have to agree that using two axes on a descent is pointless. The power in a self-arrest comes from the torque generated with two hands on one axe (and your body weight). On huge, icy lines I can definitely see using an axe, or on more technical lines for balancing your weight when stopped. There are times when falling or slipping just isn't an option.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 1:43 am 
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Location: Santa Cruz, CA
BGnight wrote:
When riding I just hold it in my rear hand by the handle. This grip allows me to arrest whether I lose my toe or heel edge.

Can you explain how you self-arrest with this grip (or any grip) when you're heelside? Does it involve trying to turn over toeside, i.e. akin to what you would end up doing to self-arrest if you fell from the same orientation but with no snowboard on?

Zach wrote:
...it's either hard-pack, icy, or getting ready to avalanche. Sometimes you get really luckly and get corn...

Sounds Real Fun (tm) :)


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 Post subject: Ice Axe Length
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:00 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 6:48 pm
Posts: 39
Location: Reno
All of the above is very interesting. Any thoughts on Ice Axe Length for snowboarding? Currently I have my all around 65cm. I am thinking of getting a 55cm for the splity. The only concern I have with the shorter length is leverage in self-arrest mode.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:46 am
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You will get more leverage with a shorter axe, anything between 50 and 60cm should be fine.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:19 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2005 12:02 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Seattle
I go with an ice ax or nothing at all these days. I like being deliberate about whether things are too hairy or not. I ski with my poles and if I get really concerned about losing it, the ice ax comes off the pack and a pole goes on it. A shaft plunged in firm snow provides a more secure self belay than a whippet ever could. Picks going into icier snow in a dagger position are also much more secure than whippets.

I also disagree with Zach about steep mountain faces with powder, but that's another topic.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2006 2:13 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Seattle WA
Hi All....Take my opinion for what it's worth.....I'm a climber first....and just breaking into this splitboarding stuff.

From my climbing experience...I would never leave home without my ice axe....even when I was snowshoeing with the board strapped to my back (THANK GAWD FOR SPLITS!! umm..bye bye snow shoes!! Umm yeah...buhh bye! SOO STOKE!).

Anyways..ductape the ends. Works just as good, prob better than the fancy rubber covers you can buy. The ductape protects any unwanted usage (think ouch) and won't get in the way when you need to impale it in the snow/ice for self arrest.

Length...for self arrest purposes you want it to touch the ground when your arm is fully extended to your side.

Storing on your pack...definately carry it upside down with the axe and ads actually against your pack (not dangling below) and the point above. That way if you fall on it you have multiple protections, back-pack, parka, ductape and helmet!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:53 am 
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Location: Mendham, NJ
taken from the Mt. Washington Accident reports page on tuckerman.org

Quote:
2-16-2006 The victim was snowboarding in the Chute when he fell. He attempted to self arrest with his ice axe. During this attempt the adze of the ice axe impacted his face near the eye resulting in a laceration. He self rescued to Hermit Lake where he met Forest Service Snow Rangers. They bandaged him and gave him a ride on a snow machine down to Pinkham. He sought medical treatment and received numerous stitches. This rescue took 2 people 1.5 hours.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 01, 2005 3:11 pm
Posts: 122
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Could have been a lot worse -- what's a few sutures compared to a broken femur or a skull fracture? I've probably had more stitches in my face from ice climbing alone (i.e. detaching features and popped placements) than this guy got from his adze. :-)

Good on him for self rescuing.


affix snow wrote:
taken from the Mt. Washington Accident reports page on tuckerman.org

Quote:
2-16-2006 The victim was snowboarding in the Chute when he fell. He attempted to self arrest with his ice axe. During this attempt the adze of the ice axe impacted his face near the eye resulting in a laceration. He self rescued to Hermit Lake where he met Forest Service Snow Rangers. They bandaged him and gave him a ride on a snow machine down to Pinkham. He sought medical treatment and received numerous stitches. This rescue took 2 people 1.5 hours.


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