No rest for the wicked! We got up at 7 per our usual waking time, had breakfast, and began a very exciting day of training. Today was all about crevasse rescue! God forbid we ever have to use it but I feel safer knowing the skills.
We were shown and then practiced making snow anchors that we could use for a variety of purposes, be it as a tent anchor, a belay anchor, or in a crevasse rescue situation. We then progressed to the actual rope skills we would need if a member of our rope team were to fall into a crevasse.
Initially, if someone falls, all members on the team drop the ground in what’s known as the self arrest position. This involves digging our boots/crampons and ice axes into the ice/snow to prevent us from moving when we feel the force of someone else’s fall on our harnesses. This is where the anchors come into play. Without them, we would all be stuck there,arresting, until another team came along to help us out. With the anchor, we can shift the fallen person’s weight to the anchor and set up a rigging system that gives the rescuer a mechanical advantage over the victim’s weight (along with their pack and sled weight).
It’s really interesting stuff, and there’s a variety of ways to pull it off.
To all the concerned relatives and friends out there – do not fear! Our guides are highly skilled and thoroughly trained in all sorts of rescue techniques and given any incidents, they would be able to rescue us (or if they – however unlikely – were to fall in, they can rescue themselves!
After the crevasse rescue training we proceeded to learn some basic orienteering and map/compass skills. By the time we packed up camp and left to descend to the trailhead it was 530pm, so we booked it down and arrived at camp around 930. A long but very fulfilling day!
Tomorrow we’ll go about 20 minutes down the trail to our van and head back to Seattle. We have a lot of laundry to do, not to mention showering, eating food that doesn’t get made in the bag you bought it in, and luxuriating in our hotel rooms. That relaxation is short lived however, because we also must pick up more supplies and be at the Alpine Ascents office at 6am the following day to leave for Mt. Rainier!!
The rain’s starting to beat down on our tent roof so it must be time for me to sleep 🙂