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Topic - Cornices

spearing05 - on 22 Mar 2013
Reading the misadventure on the Ben thread and remembering the fun I had with a cornice on Right twin a few weeks before I'm after a bit of UKC advice.

Is it the best option to bring up your second before attempting a cornice? I ask because by the time I reached the one on Right twin I was a fair way above my last bit of gear and even further above a suitable belay, bringing up my partner at this point wuld have entailed building a snow belay (in soft snow) but could have saved a long fall (assuming belay held).

My issue was that although someone else had already cut a slot in the cornice and there was a reasonable platform to stand on, the remaining cornice was still overhanging. My head and shoulders were level with the top but the snow was sun softened, even plunging my axes 3/4 of a shaft in they still rotated out and the cornice was undercut so no where for my feet. Felt slightly stupid looking out over the sun lit top at the ski lift but unable to move that last 1.5 meters.

Having read the Ben thread I feel looking back it would have been better to invest some time in further digging rather than the eventual wiggle/bellyflop/dirty my pants that I achieved. It make my palms sweaty reading of the amount of falls they took attempting the cornice - my last bit of gear (a good nut) wa at least 15 meters below.

For this reason alone would it be worth the weight to carry a snow shovel?

Help/abuse/flamings appreciated
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