Is an ice axe required for Bogong trips?

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by carolynjtrott, Jul 17, 2017 at 10:34 PM.

  1. carolynjtrott

    carolynjtrott Just Registered

    Joined:
    Monday
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    5
    Hi there,

    I'm planning some trips up Bogong this Winter and am wondering if an ice axe would be a helpful item to have?

    I have a fear of slipping on steep ice and even with snowshoes and extendable poles I'm not sure I'll feel secure enough - does anyone have advice or experience with this?
     
  2. CarveMan

    CarveMan aussieskier.com
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    May 12, 2000
    Messages:
    66,285
    Likes Received:
    20,459
    I always take one.
     
    Time and SkiMountaineer like this.
  3. Xplora

    Xplora Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    108
    Likes Received:
    111
    If you are going up the Staircase or Eskdale spur then I would take crampons as well. The last steep section of both can be icy and snow shoes are not as good. A self arrest pole would cover two purposes and may negate the need for an ice axe. I have never felt the need to use either wearing crampons but could envisage a situation where they could be handy. The top of Bogong is also often icy on top and a slip on the southern side will see you stop on a rock somewhere way down a gully.
     
  4. teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Messages:
    35,425
    Likes Received:
    2,898
    If you take an ice axe, practise using it so that it becomes instinctive, otherwise it's just a decoration.
     
  5. dawooduck

    dawooduck Pool Room
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Messages:
    49,950
    Likes Received:
    13,762
    Narbethong lore .....
     
    Chaeron likes this.
  6. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    987
    Likes Received:
    282
    What teckel says
    Use of an ice-axe needs to be instinctive, if you fall or slip you do not have time to think. Crampons also need real practice time; walking in crampons is not at all like walking in boots, if you have never used crampons you may be safer in microspikes or boot chains
    EDIT
    I always bring one or my North-all hammer
     
  7. teckel

    teckel Old And Crusty
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Messages:
    35,425
    Likes Received:
    2,898
    Missing out, eh?
     
  8. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    Messages:
    18,862
    Likes Received:
    10,118
    An axe makes for a nice glissade :)
     
    BillyKidd likes this.
  9. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Messages:
    526
    Likes Received:
    418
    Ice axe and crampon use is easy. Just remember to move one limb at a time (i.e. always keep two points of contact). Other important rules, if roped, don't step on rope; and don't shred your climbing pants. Was taught by an expert:

     
  10. tele-whippet

    tele-whippet beard stroker
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Messages:
    10,306
    Likes Received:
    10,390
    Learn and practice, practice, practice how to self arrest.
    You need to be able to stop in a nanosecond on steep ice or it's all over red rover.
    Just saying :)
     
  11. CarveMan

    CarveMan aussieskier.com
    Moderator Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    May 12, 2000
    Messages:
    66,285
    Likes Received:
    20,459
    I still shred my pants.
     
  12. SkiMountaineer

    SkiMountaineer Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2012
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    179
    Me too.
     
    7wombathead likes this.
  13. Time

    Time Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Messages:
    296
    Likes Received:
    78
    Never been able to not shred pants...
     
  14. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    Messages:
    18,862
    Likes Received:
    10,118
    Well they gotta look the part
    Can then relax with my beer in style at the bottom of du midi
     
  15. tele-whippet

    tele-whippet beard stroker
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2006
    Messages:
    10,306
    Likes Received:
    10,390
    The only time I had to really self arrest, I didn't shred my pants but almost literally shit them!
     
  16. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    987
    Likes Received:
    282
    I slipped on Feathertop South face a few decades ago, I was a tenth of a second late in getting the pick in, it was a very long walk back up the hill; a very long walk and if there had been a big rock halfway down or a cliff at the bottom I'd have been dead
    Crampon patches on the sides of pants need an extra overlay of cordura or PVC held on with roofing silicon
     
  17. weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,038
    Likes Received:
    461
    Last time I went up Bogong ( a long time ago), we snowshoed up and back down. However, I did carry an old fashioned long ice axe as well as a S/H set of steel Grivel crampons I picked up O/S. We did use them for the top part of the staircase on the way down as there was a bit of a freeze overnight.

    We also camped on the summit which was, in retrospect, a stupid thing to do. The wind really picked up overnight.
     
  18. Endless_Winter

    Endless_Winter Dedicated Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    529
    I'd say it's not really required if you have ski crampons (you mention you are on snowshoes though), but if you have one then take it.

    It sounds like your first time and, as others suggest, the feeling of security given by crampons and axe is massive compared to booting/skinning on exposed terrain. It'll certainly increase your confidence and maybe this is what you need the first time up there.

    Self arrest with an axe is really a hail mary manoeuvre, Initially, I'd concentrate on safe travel techniques and how to hold/use the axe with the view to minimise the chance of a slip rather than what to do if you do.

    Self arrest is often talked about only in conjunction with an axe, but I find it's helpful to consider what to do if you don't have it in your hand. e.g. try and grab the bottom of your ski pole and use that to arrest.

    The issue with snowshoes will be when you are traversing an icy slope rather than going straight up.
     
    #18 Endless_Winter, Jul 18, 2017 at 4:12 PM
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017 at 4:18 PM
  19. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    15
    No never used one . Avoid skiing ice.
     
    JoeKing likes this.
  20. Endless_Winter

    Endless_Winter Dedicated Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2013
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    529
    The other thing to note is that whatever you're using to grip the ice on your way up e.g. skins or boots need to have maximum surface area contact so your boot/skin is flat on the ice. This maximises grip. Normally we are used to placing weight on an edge to increase grip and this doesn't work when it's icy.
     
  21. AndrewA

    AndrewA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
    518
    Likes Received:
    272
    I've never needed an ice axe on Bogong (over 30yrs in winter), but would always take crampons, and use them regularly.

    I mostly skin or boot pack out of runs, but if the snow is hard, having crampons provides much better footing. On the other side of the coin, early season boot pack can be a PITA, sinking irritatingly deep, and snow shoes are then useful.

    The top of both the Staircase and Eskdale can get icy. I only use the Eskdale, and can normally side slip down on skis even when icy, but I have watched a few people (from our tent on Eskdale) having a woefully miserable trip down the top of Staircase one winter late one afternoon, when it had obviously frozen over, and they weren't confident side slipping on skis. I ensure I'm back at the tent before it ices up.

    A
     
  22. Chaeron

    Chaeron Well-Known Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2014
    Messages:
    419
    Likes Received:
    328
    You can rent crampons and ice axes... in Melb Ajays & the Wilderness Shop ( & maybe Bogong) can help you out... others can tell you what your options are in other locations.
     
    piolet likes this.
  23. weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    3,038
    Likes Received:
    461
    Can you explain what that means to non Catholics such as myself?
     
  24. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    Messages:
    18,862
    Likes Received:
    10,118
    Shout "mary" loudly? Thats what hail means
     
    JoeKing likes this.
  25. AndrewA

    AndrewA Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
    518
    Likes Received:
    272
    ? Cross your heart and plan to die?!
     
  26. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Messages:
    63,929
    Likes Received:
    16,541
    Not the only thing you do in your pants on Bogong.
     
    Bluebear, piolet and CarveMan like this.
  27. shauno

    shauno Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    52
    Crampons if you havnt used them its easy to forget you have them on and then you kneel down for a rest and your knee doesn't have crampons on and then you go for a slide. Little things like that you have to remember likewise always keep all points on the ice flat to the surface and bend at the ankles when going across slope dont try an edge on one side of the crampons. If its so steep you cant do that then front point across. Just some things I picked up on a NZ course. And I nearly learnt the hard way some times lol.
     
  28. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    Messages:
    18,862
    Likes Received:
    10,118
    American v french

    How the hell do you slide off on your knee btw??
     
  29. carolynjtrott

    carolynjtrott Just Registered

    Joined:
    Monday
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    5
    Okay, thank you everyone. And thanks for the photo fozzie bear. Sounds like an ice axe is probably something I'll get and practice using on steep slopes/ice. At the moment I have snowshoe and extendable poles to use.
     
  30. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    941
    Likes Received:
    634
    I always take : microspikes; a self arrest ski pole; a full ice axe and MSR REVO EXPLORE snow shoes. Knowing how to kick steps on traverses and ascents, how to cut a platform to sit on , on a steep icy slope with an ice axe, self belay with an ice axe and a ski pole as well as ice axe self arrest all must be learned and rehearsed every season.
    The upper Eskdale spur is steep , exposed and often icy. Any white season action on the Razorback and the Mt. F.Top summit is an ice axe/ self arrest ski pole kind of deal IMO.
    When walking with the ice axe there is more to it than just having it in your hand. People can show you what to do but doing consciously it is where it counts.
    Some of the slopes of the Main Range , N.S.W, in spring are also in the same category. Microspikes are not as firmly fixed to your boot as MSR snow shoes are and I prefer MSR snow shoes on icy "boiler plate" surfaces. The serrated sides and the large front toe crampon are quite secure.
     
    Tanuki likes this.
  31. shauno

    shauno Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2006
    Messages:
    270
    Likes Received:
    52
    When your secure on the crampons and then lean forward on your knee on ice and take weight off crampon
     
  32. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    941
    Likes Received:
    634
    August 2016.My friend Narges, (Irani snow Goddess) on The Eskdale spur with snow shoes and an ice axe.
     
    Tanuki and piolet like this.
  33. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    May 27, 2004
    Messages:
    18,862
    Likes Received:
    10,118
    What are those trees? Posts?


    :out:
     
    CarveMan, Chaeron and tele-whippet like this.
  34. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2015
    Messages:
    941
    Likes Received:
    634
    Are you from NSW? Don't start winding us Victorians up over the pole lines in the high country in VIC. You will give Ubi . Steve an aneurysm.;)
     
    #34 Mister Tee on snow shoes, Jul 20, 2017 at 6:40 PM
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017 at 9:11 PM
    piolet likes this.
  35. JoeKing

    JoeKing Part of the Furniture
    Season Pass Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Messages:
    19,172
    Likes Received:
    6,803
    I asked my love to have a little ski..