The objective of the Soft Snow Practice curriculum is to learn and practice the techniques of safely and efficiently traveling and climbing on snow that is not hard enough to require the use of crampons. This is the first of a two-day snow curriculum. The first session emphasizes Soft Snow techniques. Hard Snow techniques using crampons will be covered in the second snow field session. The Hard Snow field trip will build upon the skills learned in the Soft Snow field trip, so a practical understanding of these techniques is important.
Self-arrest will be the most critical item taught during this field trip. You will practice self-arrest from multiple starting positions. You will also practice with the ice axe in your left and right hands. And when you have mastered all of this, you will practice some more with a pack and then without an ice axe!
After all of the self-arrest practice, you will learn about snow anchors and the use of the dynamic belay. There are many different types of snow anchors, and snow conditions will dictate which type of anchor is most effective. Groups will get an opportunity to chop a snow bollard and test it’s effectiveness.
After all of your hard work, you will be rewarded with one of the fastest and most exciting ways to travel on snow…a glissade to the bottom of the glacier.