/ Winter Boot Camp

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mmmhumous on 06 Dec 2012
I’ve booked a 2 day winter-skills and climbing course for myself and some of our club in the new year. The second day is pretty much sorted, as we’ll be climbing stuff in pairs (each with their own instructor) with grades dependant on each pairs’ ability and previous experience.

For the first day though, we’ve only got one instructor between the six of us. Any ideas on what the best use of this day would be? i.e. which winter skills/ mountaineering skills should we get them to focus on?

In terms of the group's current experience:

-Two people are proficient on Grade II-III
-Three have no winter experience.
-I’ve only done some woefully ill-equipped summer Alpinism
and a bit ofindoor ice climbing and dry tooling (well splintering sections off a telegraph pole with blunt axes whilst feeling rather sea-sick),
-All the group are however proficient at summer fell-walking, and lead at least severe outside and 6a indoors.
peas65 - on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to mmmhumous:

definatly a reap of winter skills, always useful even if youve done some climbing, building belays, snow bollards, axe belays etc, practice good footwork, axe arrests. Then maybe some nav work. Followed by a little journey. Should easily fill a day.
ice.solo - on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to mmmhumous:

youve basicly listed a large part of my job description.

id focus on team work in regards to simplifying and speeding up the bigger picture of a day climbing:

packing ropes, setting belays, bringing up 2 climbers, keeping an eye on each other, knowing who does what when and why.

use the instructor to be the drill sergent to observe and check while the group refines its team-function and group-think. 1 instructor between 6 will make for pretty lame quality if he/she is in a guiding role, but as a quality control element you will get more from them.

nailing together a primed, cohesive group will pay off hugely the following day, really maximizing your learning time by reducing the faff and fcukery common to all gaggles of winter climbers.
simply having experienced each other in action (rather than standing in line behind a guide) is half your day sorted.

also nice for the guide, who is possibly dreading taking on a whole mob (there may actually industry rules as to guide/instructor to client ratios...)
mmmhumous on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to mmmhumous:

Thanks both. Is there anything that people tend to struggle with, which they could benefit from an instructor's critique on?
Thugitty Jugitty on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to mmmhumous:

My wife went on a winter skills course ages ago. Despite this, when it came to needing axe arrest years later she was not so good and it scared the crap out of me. So I'd say get plenty of axe arrest practice in, even for the experienced people.
mmmhumous on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to mmmhumous:

I've been looking online at some of the various things we can cover on the course. There's plenty of good videos and information on most things that we'd like to cover: self-arrest, glissading, kicking steps, walking in crampons T-slot belays, bucket seats, placing screws,Deadman belays etc etc...

Incidentally I don't think I'd have hung my coat off an Abalakov or a Snow bollard with out seeing some of the videos of people trying to get them to rip.

Anyway despite google and Youtube's best efforts... In the words on Donald Rumplestiltskin, there are still some known unknowns and maybe some unknown unknowns too:

Are burried axe belays and T-axe belays the same thing as a T-slot Belay?

What's a Y-axe belay?

Is a snow mushroom belay a snow bollard?

ARe their any other snow/ice anchors I not mentioned above?

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