Alpine Mountaineering

Snow Fields have crevasses / moats, as do glaciers. Ice axe use, self arrest, team arrests, and crevasse self rescue and partner rescue are part of the game. Risk Exposure Rating is approximately 30+ Understanding and having these skills are essential to the Alpine Mountaineering Experience Practicing these skills are essential.
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11,300 foot on the Everest Ridge on the face of 11,750 ft Mt. Timpanogos. A popular alpine mountaineering route. No the red coat is not resting. We spent a couple of weeks up there preparing for our ascent of Everest, testing gear and such. And yes, we carried our waste off the mountain. Sometimes we use deep crevasses, or dig holes in the ground so we can leave it in good shape for others to enjoy.
My first time I went up the Western Rib of Mt. McKinley, we had four Swiss climbers camped near us. Their wind walls had turds in the blocks of snow… Nowadays, people are a little more conscious of leaving the mountain it a nice way, so others can enjoy it too.


Alpine Mountaineering – practice

Objective is to have a good adventure while maintaining a [1]Risk Exposure of 30 or less.

[2]Our “excuse” to do something or get together; is Practice Alpine Mountaineering Skills. We do this while hiking/climbing up a steep snow fields (Alpine Neve’). We start by setting up some basic snow anchors for belaying, practice various self arrests and belay skills:  Ice axe belays, self arrest: the four primary arrest positions, and team arrests.  Similar to what is found on pages 343=>360 9th edition (The Bible or sorts) Mountaineering the freedom of the hills) Then if conditions are good we can practice team arrests, and…  (If you would like to buy a copy from me, just email me, or I should have the online store going soon. Thanks

Alpine Mountaineering Equipment Required: Ice Axe (Alpine) Helmet, Crampons, Seat Harness, several biners, Gloves, appropriate clothing, Ten E’s,

[1] Risk Exposure is a tangible way of communicating the risks involved.  Simply to say, “be safe” does not communicate the risks someone is exposed to.   This is a tangible way of communicating danger.  A number of 25 or less is generally what most mature somewhat experienced people would call safe.  26 to 50 is elevated risk, but with proper training and equipment it is considered reasonably safe. 51 to 100 is no man’s land.  We want to stay out of that area and the closer we get to 100 the more likely we will die, and/or incur serious property damage.

[2] An excuse to go is often the summit, the reason is to enjoy the out of doors and each other company.


Basic ice axe skills are assumed before thinking about these other skills. This is one way for protecting yourself while traveling on a glacier. Not meant to be a definitive text on the subject, nor as instruction, just some ideas, and thoughts.

Mt Rainier makes for a great place to practice these advanced skills. Roped travel skills are important while on unknown snow fields, and glacier. Even Timpanogos has killed, three people in the same moat.

Snow fields like this can be found hear on North Facing Slopes in the Wasatch Range.
Moat is exposed, where three adventurers met their demise. Traveling on snowfields and glaciers you are unfamiliar with needs to be don with skill and caution. Moats develop between the snow pack and cliff walls, leaving exposed and hidden hazards. With skill, the correct equipment, and good judgement your risk exposure can be kept reasonably low.
Moat The above picture shows how a waterfall over the rock cliff can cause a hidden hazard. This is a hand drawing I made before I had my first 8088. Even with it I could not do much better, or well. I sent it out in a newsletter to warn people so that the extreme idea of closing the mount would not occur again.

Three people died and they closed the Mountain for a while, due to the incident.

The neat thing about this system is it can be used in any and all situations: It is a way of labeling the risks involved, or the “Risks we are Exposed to “Risk Exposure”

All hazards have a “Potential” of Occurring. If they do not occur, “no hazard. The other part is “Risk Factor” or how serious the consequences of a mistake. Crossing a lake with one inch of ice on it has a high risk potential, but if it is only one foot deep (risk factor) it is not too dangerous. On the other hand, if it were 30 deep, the “risk factor” could be deadly. Multiply the RP by the RF, to get the RE Read on to better understand how to communicate risk exposure, rather than labeling something safe, not safe, kind of safe, not too dangerous, or . . .

Understanding Safety and Risk Evaluation This is a system I have developed of the past, well, fairly long time. I teach people how to use this during various classes I teach.
It applies to all situations and is used to communicate the safety picture, since there is no such thing as safe.
We can control our risk exposure by working with either risk potential, risk factor, or both.