Glacier Travel Crevasse Rescue
August 27, 2016
Coordinator: Mark Barnard
On Saturday August 27, Mark and Fritz lead our annual SAC Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue course up on the Elliot Glacier on Mt Hood.
We had 10 people sign up for the course, but unfortunately several people were unable to make it at the last minute. Sara, Michael, Mika, Dan and Peter met us at Cloud Cap Campground where we hiked up the Cooper Spur then crossed over onto the Elliot glacier.
The glacier has been retreating over the last few years. In the past it only took a few minutes to get onto the glacier from the hiking trail. Today it took almost two hours of difficult climbing through boulder fields and scree to reach the snow! Once there we strapped on our crampons and divided into two rope teams, one with 4 climbers lead by Mark and the other with 3 led by Fritz. We worked or way up the glacier practicing crampon techniques, rope management and negotiating occasional rocky sections and crevasses. We practiced belaying team members across snow bridges and peering down into the depths of the crevasses around us.
While we were having our lunch, a big breeze came down off the mountain and blew one of our team member's helmet over a ridge and down onto another ridge that was 30 feet below us, and not easy to climb down to. This made for a good learning opportunity, so we placed three ice screws in some solid ice and build an anchor and belayed Mika down to retrieve the helmet. Once she had it she used two ice axes and climbed up the icy wall back to the team. Well done!
We then searched around and found a deep and scary enough crevasse to work with and discussed and demonstrated how to catch a fall, build an anchor with ice screws, a dead man and two pickets. Then we demonstrated how to set up a haul system with a 2:1 pulley and a 3:1 pulley system. We lowered several students down into the crevasse and then rescued them. It was awesome to see that our two lady climbers were able to pull a victim out of the crevasse with both the 2:1 and 3:1 systems without the help of any of the guys. Go girl power!
Everyone had the opportunity to build a 3:1 haul system and test it. It was a great learning experience for all of us.
By this time is was getting late in the afternoon, so we roped up one last time and descended the snowfield as low as we could then hopped over boulders back to the tail down the mountain and back to Cloud Cap.
We gathered at the camp site to unload and review the course. All the students were enthusiastic and did really well today. Everyone seemed pleased with the outing and the opportunity to be on the mountain and learn vital skills to climb safely.
Mark (leader) says:
Log In to participate in the forum.