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Avoiding death by slide climbing

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  • Avoiding death by slide climbing

    Slide climbing not only can be hazardous to your life, but it can end it completely. Even though there is information available to help you keep out of trouble all the information in the world is no substitute for experience.

    Undertaking any of the slide climbs that you may read about in this internet forum is a potentially hazardous activity and could kill you. Particular phrases and descriptions you read in a trip report may lead you to believe little danger or difficulty is involved. This is NOT TRUE. Mountains are inherently dangerous and slide climbing can be doubly dangerous.

    You are advised to go with caution and select a route within your level of ability and experience. If you are not sure what your abilities are maybe you don’t have any ability. Those without proper skills and experience should enrol in an appropriate course given by a recognized climbing school or an approved rock climbing guide.

    However, bear this in mind: many course teach the basic moves for moderate rock climbs but few, if any teach you how to avoid technical rock climbing. Avoidance of technical rock climbing could actually define slide climbing and scrambling. Climbing basics are useful but finding a safe route up a slide is more important. This skill cannot be taught but develops over time.

    The nature of wilderness is change. Slide characteristics can change suddenly, seasonally or over years (algae, rock shearing, Irene!) Surface conditions may change in moments during rain/sleet/snow etc. Dry areas with traction may lose traction when wet. Trip reports on this forum (or any) represent a snapshot in time and as such may be out of date in a very short time. They are also subjective in nature based on a person’s experience which may be minimal or substantial.

    Do not put unbridled faith in the information you find in this internet forum. Develop and use your own judgment. Persons using the information contained in this web resource do so entirely at their own risk. The risk in slide climbing is dying. Be careful.

    (Modified by permission from Scrambling in the Canadian Rockies by Alan Kane)
    Last edited by Neil; 10-11-2011, 05:17 PM.
    1111111111

  • #2
    Wow, what he said! I'll just add this - even among people who've never done technical rock climbing (maybe especially among?), there's a tremendous variation in individual comfort levels on open rock and in dealing with exposure - both real (physical) and psychological (visual). Only you can accurately know your comfort zone. Use the trip reports for route descriptions, factual information, etc., but know that what one person thinks is no harder than hiking, another may find petrifying - or vice versa. Develop your own skills and work your way up the ladder of difficulty rather than plunging in based on something you read on the internet.

    Even though we all know that if you read it on the internet, it's got to be true

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Neil View Post
      If you are not sure what your abilities are maybe you don’t have any ability.
      This is the best line ever.
      Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Neil View Post
        (Modified by permission from Scrambling in the Canadian Rockies by Alan Kane)
        Wow Neil, I did not know you knew this book by Alan kane, very useful indeed if you are going to climb in the Canadian rockies, Reading your statement made me think you are a Lawyer, enough said, people should always be prudent.
        8000m 0/14

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        • #5
          Nicely done, Neil. I especially Like: "Avoidance of technical rock climbing could actually define slide climbing and scrambling." It certainly defines it for me.

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          • #6
            I agree with those who recommend taking some rock climbing instruction if you intend to put yourself in a situation that might require this ability. However, the old adage, "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing" comes to mind. There may be those who are tempted to try out their new "skills" on steeper pitches than they would have prior to the instruction.

            I'm both a hiker and a technical climber, but I prefer the former these days. One of the things you learn quickly in rock climbing is that climbing up is lots easier than climbing down. Many of the rescues our SAR team encounters result from folks "scrambling" up a slope, only to find that they cannot get back down. You can see how this happens: new handholds come into view as you ascend, and they eventually become footholds as you proceed. Climbing down, however, you have to lean out to see the next foothold below you...and it may be 3-4 feet away. They look much smaller from that increased distance, and you're out of balance.

            One of the things I always do when climbing slides (or scree chutes, etc.) is have an escape route, usually to one side or the other, but not down. You have to continuously change your escape route as you ascend, but it's worth the effort, and the time. Just my 2 cents...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Neil View Post
              Avoidance of technical rock climbing could actually define slide climbing and scrambling. Climbing basics are useful but finding a safe route up a slide is more important.

              Surface conditions may change in moments during rain/sleet/snow etc.
              Reminds me of this "Oh $#@%" moment on the Eagle Slide (MudRat's photo of me):

              --- Resident terrorist-supporting eco-freak bootlicker

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