Sunday, February 22, 2009

Prusik Up

Christie dangles from a glacial ice bridge

Ice, snow and sunshine - this was the world we found ourselves surrounded by over the weekend. Three of us ventured southward to the Castner Glacier in the Alaska Range to refresh and brush up on some safe glacial traveling skills. Near the tongue of the glacier is a playground of crevasses and ice walls that can be easily and safely accessed.

Skiing up to the terminus of the Castner Glacier.

Christie and Brian scope out the surrounding mountains of ice.

We found what looked like a suitable spot to simulate a crevasse rescue. A small ice bridge that we could easily access from below as well as above. Christie probes her way across the bridge to verify that it was safe.

Setting anchors on the ice bridge.

The dead man anchor will be buried and held in place by a couple feet of compacted snow.

Augering an ice screw into the glacial ice. This will be the second anchor to hold our load.

Testing out the combined strength of the anchors.

Gazing up at the ice bridge from below.

Brian prusik's his way up the rope.

Our site selection was not ideal because we were unable to easily prusik up over the lip of angled ice. But this is probably more realistic of what would be encountered during a real crevasse rescue situation.