Sunday, February 25, 2024

Do You Want an Ice Axe to Winter Hike within the White Mountains?


In the event you hike within the winter within the White Mountains of New Hampshire, there are specific routes and trails the place it may be helpful to have an ice axe to arrest a fall, chop steps, for stability when strolling, on a steep slope, or as an anchor when there aren’t any good handholds round you. Whereas it’s true that you simply don’t want an ice axe more often than not when winter mountain climbing within the Whites, whenever you need one, it positive is helpful to have.

There are hikers, some fairly outstanding ones, who will inform you that you simply by no means want an ice axe for winter mountain climbing within the Whites Mountains. You would possibly very nicely have the ability to get by with out one in case you keep on with simpler routes or solely hike in good path circumstances. However an ice axe is an efficient security software to hold  when tackling winter routes that traverse steep, icy, or sketchy terrain. An ice axe weighs subsequent to nothing and may make the distinction between a harrowing day and one which’s simply managed.

Studying tips on how to use an axe can be a enjoyable ability to be taught in case you like studying backcountry expertise. You’ll be shocked how helpful it may be. Studying tips on how to self-arrest with an ice axe can be necessary in case you ever want to make use of full mountaineering crampons, within the Whites or elsewhere, since an unbroken slide in crampons is a nasty solution to break an ankle or leg.

ice Axe BD Raven

There are three elements to a mountaineering/walking-style ice axe:

  • The choose which might be plunged into ice as an anchor level or used to arrest an uncontrolled slide when held within the prepared place.
  • The shaft which might be plunged deeply into snow as a handhold or rope anchor or used as a friction brake when sliding down a slope in your butt on objective (referred to as glissading).
  • The again or adze, which is used to actually chop steps right into a steep or vertical face so you possibly can climb or descend it safely. The adze additionally makes a passible beer bottle opener in case you neglect to deliver one.
Surveying the Osceola Chimney Bypass
Surveying the Osceola Chimney Bypass

Listed here are some examples of the place I’ve used an ice axe within the White Mountains to offer you a way of the paths the place it might probably turn out to be useful in winter:

  • Chopping steps on the very icy and steep Fishing Jimmy Path en path to North Kinsman. This implies making a flat ledge with the adze of the axe, so you possibly can traverse or get down an icy face.
  • Self-arresting a fall on the Lionhead path on Mt Washington.
  • For added stability on the Wildcat Vary Path when ascending Wildcat A (Mtn) from Carter Notch. This part of the path traverses an avalanche zone the place a fall or uncontrolled slide could be very unhealthy.
  • As an anchor level for descending the very icy and steep part of the Osceola Ridge Path from East Osceola (Mtn) right down to the Greely Pond Path.
  • For stability, and to forestall an uncontrolled slide down the west face of Mt Lafayette.
  • For stability, and to forestall an uncontrolled slide down the Pine Bend Path getting back from North Tripyramid.
  • As an anchor and dagger level for climbing the Sabbaday Path from the Kanc to Center Tripyramid
  • Climbing the Blueberry Ledge Path on the best way to Mt Whiteface when it’s helpful to have a agency anchor to tug your self up a number of slippery rock ledges that lack good handholds
  • For stability, when descending the steep Walden Path close to Mt Passaconaway
  • As an anchor and for stability when climbing the ice flows beneath the Lakes of the Clouds Hut on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Path.
  • Glissading down (sliding in your however utilizing the axe as friction brake) on quite a few larger angle slopes as a substitute of mountain climbing down them.
  • Utilizing the choose as a stable anchor level when climbing Mt Jackson from the East
  • For stability, when climbing the ledges on Mt Crawford or subsequent to the falls on the Nancy Pond Path in winter
  • As a stable anchor, when descending or ascending the chimney bypass between East Osceola (Mtn) and Mt Osceola
  • For stability, when crossing the avalanche slide whereas descending the east facet of East Osceola (dealing with Mad River Notch) in winter.
  • As a stable anchor level or for chopping steps on the Beaver Brook Path whereas ascending or descending Mt Moosilauke

Whereas I’m positive individuals have hiked all these routes with out an ice axe, I’ve to inform you, I really feel a hell of quite a bit safer and extra in management when I’ve one with me.

Be taught How you can Use an Ice Axe

One of the simplest ways to discover ways to use an ice axe for winter mountain climbing and mountaineering is to take a category with one of many mountain guiding providers in North Conway (NH). I took my first mountaineering course with IME (Worldwide Mountain Gear) some time in the past and I’ve used it ever since. Redline Guiding is one other information service that can be extremely popular throughout the mountain climbing neighborhood.

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