Access Special Features, Register Now!

How to Cross a Spring Snowfield

Cross the steeps safely and avoid avalanches with these guide-approved tips.
march 2010 cross spring snow 200x170 march 2010 cross spring snow 200x170


Switchback up softer spring slopes by kicking flat, evenly spaced steps into the snow with the toe of your boot. Prevent a serious fall with a self-belay: Holding your axe in your uphill hand, plunge the spike and shaft into the snow. Take two steps forward. When you’re in a balanced position—uphill leg bent in front of you, downhill leg straight—pull out the shaft and replant. To turn, plunge the spike into the snow and plant your feet in a level, duck-footed stance, facing up. Switch hands and swing the new uphill foot forward in the new direction before moving the axe up. Run into a short icy section? Use your ice axe, not your feet, to chop a few steps, says Councell.

Page 2 of 512345

Leave a Reply