Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Need a climbing partner? Trying to form a hiking group for an outing?
Forum rules
Please do not use this forum to advertise, sell photos or other products or promote a commercial website. For more details, please see the Terms of Use you agreed to when joining the forum.
User avatar
ellenmseb
Posts: 81
Joined: 5/11/2020
14ers: 49 1
13ers: 19 2
Trip Reports (6)
Contact:

Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by ellenmseb » Thu Mar 25, 2021 2:17 pm

I'm thinking about heading up James peak to test out my crampons & ice axe and practice self-arrest in preparation to climb Mt Shasta this year. Anyone want to come along?

I would first summit via St Mary's Glacier, glissade down while self-arresting, then maybe head partway or all the way up Starbright Couloir for some practice on steeper terrain.

Also open to other peaks besides James Pk. Cristo Couloir on Quandary, Angel of Shavano, Andrews Glacier?

I could technically do:
* Saturday 3/27 at 2pm - finish in the dark
* any day 3/29-4/2: but seems it will start snowing again on 3/30. 4/2 might work.

https://www.meteoblue.com/en/weather/14 ... ca_5426431

Warning I am slow! You might get cold waiting for me!

I'm also planning to screw around with my ice axe on the black runs near the parking lot at Loveland ski resort around 4:30pm 3/27. Feel free to join and we can defend ourselves to ski patrol together.
NatDog
Posts: 35
Joined: 7/19/2020
14ers: 35
13ers: 11 1
Trip Reports (2)

Re: Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by NatDog » Thu Mar 25, 2021 3:39 pm

Just as an FYI, I hiked St. Mary's on Sunday (3/21) and had hoped to get some glissade/self-arrest practice but the snow was too deep for me to gain any speed. I tried to slide several times but never made it more than a few feet before coming to an anticlimactic stop. Granted, I didn't venture too far from the center of the "glacier". There are steeper slopes on the south side of the glacier but I believe those are avy slopes so I avoided them. I also think that area has received several more inches of snow since I've been there so it might not be the best spot for glissading at the moment.
ltlFish99
Posts: 370
Joined: 5/22/2019
14ers: 40 2 2
13ers: 51

Re: Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by ltlFish99 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:20 pm

The steeper, area just above the lake which gets steeper the more to left one is, is a great area to practice.
This area has been known to slide, not often but after about 6 inches from a storm one time it slid about 2 days later as the CMC was up there for a class and there was avalanche debris by the lake.
User avatar
ellenmseb
Posts: 81
Joined: 5/11/2020
14ers: 49 1
13ers: 19 2
Trip Reports (6)
Contact:

Re: Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by ellenmseb » Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:02 pm

yea I was hoping it might be more compacted on Monday, after 2 snow-free and warm days.. but i might just wait and do this practice in California at 10k' instead.
User avatar
k_fergie
Posts: 75
Joined: 8/28/2019
14ers: 58 2
13ers: 34 8 1

Re: Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by k_fergie » Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:47 pm

ltlFish99 wrote:
Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:20 pm
The steeper, area just above the lake which gets steeper the more to left one is, is a great area to practice.
This area has been known to slide, not often but after about 6 inches from a storm one time it slid about 2 days later as the CMC was up there for a class and there was avalanche debris by the lake.
That area was the site of a fatality in 2016. St. Mary's is not a good place to practice self arrest. The glacier itself is relatively avalanche safe, but as stated above, its too low angle to pick up enough speed to actually practice self arresting. https://www.avalanche.state.co.us/caic/ ... &accfm=inv
I thought, I taught, I wrought
User avatar
ellenmseb
Posts: 81
Joined: 5/11/2020
14ers: 49 1
13ers: 19 2
Trip Reports (6)
Contact:

Re: Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by ellenmseb » Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:13 pm

Does anyone have a recommendation of a better place to practice? I scoured the forums before and seems St Marys Glacier was the most often recommended.
User avatar
k_fergie
Posts: 75
Joined: 8/28/2019
14ers: 58 2
13ers: 34 8 1

Re: Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by k_fergie » Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:24 pm

ellenmseb wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 2:13 pm
Does anyone have a recommendation of a better place to practice? I scoured the forums before and seems St Marys Glacier was the most often recommended.
My opinion is that you need somewhere steep enough that you really get moving fast (as close to a real life danger situation), but with a safe runout in case you are unable to stop yourself. Unfortunately, given the avy conditions right now, those qualifications can't both readily be met until the snowpack stabilizes likely sometime in late april depending on many factors. While my friends were ice climbing, I once did some basic practice in winter at Silver plume falls on a 50 ft wind drift in the mining debris since that snow was hard as hell. There are probably options to get some practice in, but they may not be steep enough or the snow will still be too soft to slide. I hope someone else is able to chime in with better recommendations because I'm not being too helpful

*Edit* I saw you listed Angel of Shavano. That would be a great practice location. Steep enough to pick up good speed, but minimal consequences if you are unable to stop. But the snowpack wont be ready for glissading for another month or two unfortunately
I thought, I taught, I wrought
User avatar
Alpine Guy
Posts: 373
Joined: 7/9/2007
14ers: 36

Re: Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by Alpine Guy » Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:23 pm

If you're near the Indian Peaks, the area around Blue Lake below Mt Toll would be a fantastic place to practice self arrest. Not as easy to reach as St Mary's but so many snowfields of varying steepness to choose from. Probably best in May-June, though.
Attachments
20170624 Mt Toll & Pawnee.jpg
20170624 Mt Toll & Pawnee.jpg (59.6 KiB) Viewed 873 times
Roll No Rocks
User avatar
dubsho3000
Posts: 541
Joined: 4/28/2008
14ers: 58 6 1
13ers: 87 11
Trip Reports (6)

Re: Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by dubsho3000 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:21 am

St Mary's looks like a good place to me, if you are comfortable with the avalanche danger. Like you said, I'd expect the snow to be very firm tomorrow so you should be able to get enough speed to practice self arrest from several directions and positions. I believe this is a common place to practice for groups like the CMC, but I could be wrong. The most likely bad-case scenario is you summit James Peak and do your training in Cali.

Have fun. I'd like to get some similar practice is this spring but made some other plans for tomorrow.

And have fun on Shasta. I did the Avalanche Gulch a few years ago and thought it was an awesome mountain. Best glissade I've ever had. 2000'+ as I remember!
User avatar
jaymz
Posts: 1011
Joined: 6/6/2006
14ers: List not added
Trip Reports (1)

Re: Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by jaymz » Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:15 am

I would consider St.Marys a good option, so long as the snowpack is favorable. Even if you can't get "real world scenario" speeds, it's still a good place to practice technique and work on muscle memory, especially if you're new to self arrest or long out of practice.
There's a reason it's long been a favored place to teach the fundamentals of self arrest.
"...as if you could kill time without injuring eternity."
- Thoreau, Walden
User avatar
ellenmseb
Posts: 81
Joined: 5/11/2020
14ers: 49 1
13ers: 19 2
Trip Reports (6)
Contact:

Re: Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by ellenmseb » Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:31 pm

Thanks all. Angel of shavano looks great, but last report said the trailhead is closed a few miles up. Same for Edwardian couloir

FYI, St Mary's glacier is currently very glissadeable due to being windblown. It seems near impossible to actually summit james pk with winds like today. From a sitting position, I would spontaneously start sliding unless I used my ice axe as an anchor. I even took one scary, cartwheeling real fall while trying to sit down to remove my crampons. :shock: Said fall was eventually arrested by my crampons, not axe. (But if you fail to arrest, you'll just come to a gentle stop when the angle lowers, which is why st mary's is a good place to practice.) I need more practice!!
User avatar
Shane_R
Posts: 4
Joined: 2/17/2021
14ers: 10

Re: Self-arrest practice - James Pk, Cristo? - 3/29

Post by Shane_R » Fri Apr 09, 2021 3:52 pm

Good info - thanks, all.
For anyone else interested in practice, I may try on St Mary's on 4/16 and you're welcome to join me.
Last edited by Shane_R on Sun Apr 11, 2021 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Post Reply