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Thread: More on Glacier Travel

  1. #1
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    Default More on Glacier Travel

    I read the thread on glacier travel that was up a short while ago. Mostly it was a should you or shouldn't you type thread. My partner and I WILL be traveling a glacier for our sheep hunt this year. That being said, I would be interested in tips from those that have more experience with it than we do.

    I've spent a little time on a glacier but not much. We are doing research through other sources as well. I would rather this not turn into a should you or shoudln't you thread, but one on good information and suggestions about best practices. Thanks in advance for your willingness to help.

    -Carnivore
    Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.
    Genesis 9:3

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carnivore View Post
    I read the thread on glacier travel that was up a short while ago. Mostly it was a should you or shouldn't you type thread. My partner and I WILL be traveling a glacier for our sheep hunt this year. That being said, I would be interested in tips from those that have more experience with it than we do.

    I've spent a little time on a glacier but not much. We are doing research through other sources as well. I would rather this not turn into a should you or shoudln't you thread, but one on good information and suggestions about best practices. Thanks in advance for your willingness to help.

    -Carnivore
    I did a lot of glacier climbing in my younger days, and several goat hunts where we had to cross glaciers to gain access. If you've had some experience, then you probably already know the basics - that you must have crampons, rope, and an ice axe. Don't under estimate the glacier traverse. Carry a few ice screws for belay protection if there are steep sections or crevasses. Do your homework, find out what kind of glacier conditions exist before you go, do map-route finding on air photos, and go practice with your gear on glacier ice without your rifles and packs. Practice: Go to Byron Glacier near Portage, a one mile hike and you are on ice, or go to the Matanuska Glacier on the Glenn Hwy, you can drive down to the river flood plain and hike a half mile or so to ice. Use your rope, everyone rope up even if you feel secure on level ice, one slip and you are down in a crevasse 50 ft with no way out because you've got the rope in your pack. Crampons, ice axe, rope, caribeaners, and a few ice screws are minimum protection on glaciers. Watch the snow pack, it easily covers crevasses. Depending on the size of the glacier and altitude, learn the crevasse patterns, the center of the glacier moves faster than the sides, so crevasse patterns often go from the sides of the glacer pointing about 45 degrees down glacier and toward the center, important to know when there is lots of snow still on the glacier hiding crevasses; again do some air photo review before you go, crevasse patterns last for years. Check for moraines - even if snow covered, rock traverse may be safer and easier access even if snow covered. And if possible fly your route before you go, check out the best glacier traverse. Good luck!

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    Default crevasse patterns

    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskasourdough View Post
    Watch the snow pack, it easily covers crevasses. Depending on the size of the glacier and altitude, learn the crevasse patterns, the center of the glacier moves faster than the sides, so crevasse patterns often go from the sides of the glacer pointing about 45 degrees down glacier and toward the center, important to know when there is lots of snow still on the glacier hiding crevasses; again do some air photo review before you go, crevasse patterns last for years. Check for moraines - even if snow covered, rock traverse may be safer and easier access even if snow covered. And if possible fly your route before you go, check out the best glacier traverse. Good luck!
    Thanks AKSourdough. The center of glacier traveling faster and impacting the crevasee patterns is not something I had thought of. Anyway, I appreciate your sharing. I'm hoping to get more/other comments from this post. Seems most folks want to talk about caribou and rifle calibers right now.
    Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.
    Genesis 9:3

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    Member shphtr's Avatar
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    Default Glacier travel

    Recommend that you and Chili Mac take a look in Sunday's paper in the outdoor section re: "McKinley season" and those "pesky glaciers". Good luck.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Default

    When are you going? If late August or September, you might seriously consider attending the glacier travel and crevasse rescue class put on by the Alaska Mountaineering School on Aug. 18 & 19. Yep, it costs $300, but that's a small price to pay for saving your friend's life (or your own, for that matter).

    According to today's ADN outdoors section, their phone # is 733-1016 and e-mail address is info@climbalaska.org.

    Perhaps they have an earlier class that's not listed in the paper, so you may want to call and ask.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Nope, no earlier class that I can see on their website.

    There is a book that you might want to read, though. Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue would be worth perusing before you head out across a glacier. Looks like it covers the basics pretty well, and in far more detail than you'll find here in the forums.

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    Default Thanks gents

    Shphntr - I did read the article - thank you for the note and the info. you've provided to Chili Mac already.

    Brain M - Yes, Shphntr had recommended the class to my partner as well. Sounds like it would be beneficial and fun to boot. Unfortunately our hunt will be early season. I did order that same book a few days ago. It should be here early this week.

    Thanks to both of you for responding.
    Everything that lives and moves will be food for you.
    Genesis 9:3

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