Is an ice axe required for Bogong trips?

Discussion in 'Backcountry' started by carolynjtrott, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. carolynjtrott

    carolynjtrott Just Registered

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    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
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    I always take one.
     
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  3. Xplora

    Xplora Active Member

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    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
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    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
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    Narbethong lore .....
     
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  6. Moondog55

    Moondog55 Well-Known Member

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    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
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    Missing out, eh?
     
  8. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
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    An axe makes for a nice glissade :)
     
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  9. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

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    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
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    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
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    I still shred my pants.
     
  12. SkiMountaineer

    SkiMountaineer Active Member

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    Me too.
     
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  13. Time

    Time Active Member

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    Never been able to not shred pants...
     
  14. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
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    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
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    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

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    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
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    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

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    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
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
  19. rowdyflat

    rowdyflat Active Member

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    No never used one . Avoid skiing ice.
     
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  20. Endless_Winter

    Endless_Winter Dedicated Member

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    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

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    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
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    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.
     
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  23. weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member
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    Can you explain what that means to non Catholics such as myself?
     
  24. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
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    Shout "mary" loudly? Thats what hail means
     
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  25. AndrewA

    AndrewA Well-Known Member

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    ? Cross your heart and plan to die?!
     
  26. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room
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    Not the only thing you do in your pants on Bogong.
     
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  27. shauno

    shauno Active Member

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    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
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    American v french

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

    carolynjtrott Just Registered

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    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

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    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.
     
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  31. shauno

    shauno Active Member

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    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

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    August 2016.My friend Narges, (Irani snow Goddess) on The Eskdale spur with snow shoes and an ice axe.
     
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  33. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
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    What are those trees? Posts?


    :out:
     
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  34. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    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
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
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  35. JoeKing

    JoeKing Part of the Furniture
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    I asked my love to have a little ski..

     
  36. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    I am heading up Mt. Bogong next month. I will take all the gear incl. my ice axe. I am all Bungalow spurred out and will give Michelle hut a go instead.
     
  37. Tanuki

    Tanuki Dedicated Member
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    awesome pic, is she wearing denim? Punkin it out on Bogong
     
  38. weerab

    weerab Dedicated Member
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    Looks like softshell to me, a bit hard to tell.
     
  39. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    NO Denim. She( Miss Narges with the ice axe and mirror goggles on Mt. Bogong) was well attired for the trip with appropriate costumery.
     
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  40. Ziggy

    Ziggy Addicted Member
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    There's a bit of skill in using an ice axe for SA, not only practice. Not sure YouTube will be enough.
     
  41. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    You have to get out onto the hill and practise with it every winter. You tube is NOT enough.
     
  42. Ubiquitous Steve

    Ubiquitous Steve Addicted Member
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    Bears use those poles as pivot points..when it's icy we come straight down slope on our asses one pole at a time ...just keep truley on top of ridge...if you have run out you will just slide safely down the middle... never used crampons up there but it can get dangerous without crampons or axe on the last part of staircase as you traverse the slope.
    Ski tails are good sometimes when you descend in ski boots ....just ram them into snow like ski poles.. oh we nearly got our asses burnt on an aborted traverse late in the day on the last bit of the Quartz Ridge....now that was scary!you just stay truley up the small arĂȘte in boots with skis in either hand

    But the political correct and best answer is take an axe with you....but I would be more interested in the other functions that an axe allows.Ram that shaft straight down and you should have a pretty secure anchor point...so you can have a breather.
     
    #42 Ubiquitous Steve, Jul 24, 2017 at 12:46 PM
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017 at 1:06 PM
  43. sbm

    sbm Dedicated Member
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    I have to say, I've never had any problem with accidentally kicking myself with my crampons...must be my nu-school shoulder-width stance on snow. Also once I seconded a friend up a technical mixed climb (ice screws and trad gear and all that faff) wearing crampons on downhill ski boots, it's all been easy sailing after that.

    As for self-taught vs formal instruction - my opinion is, neither is worth much if you don't continue to practice and re-evaluate long after you "learned" the basics (same with avalanche protocol...)

    I'd rather have as a partner a guy who photocopied some bits out of a library copy of the Freedom Of The Hills when he was younger, but has been travelling in the backcountry safely for years, humbly insisting he's still a gumby. Instead of the guy who did a no-expenses-spared NZ Alpine Club course two years ago, brings that up at every opportunity, and insists he's learnt all there is to know...
     
  44. Mister Tee on snow shoes

    Mister Tee on snow shoes Dedicated Member

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    I insist that I am far from an expert with an ice axe. Beware of people who claim to be experts in snow and ice safety with these bits of kit.
    I just had a bad crash on my Hybrid mtn. bike today so I got myself patched up by the Dr. and nurse and should be back on the bike and snow shoes ASAP. I lost a lot of skin but nothing is broken. Well the bike is buggered and I will have to get it fixed very soon. Being fit means the bruising will die down soon I hope , and I shall prevail .I love swimming for fitness and the word is I have to stay out of the pool for two weeks :-0 and glad wrap my limbs with tape when I take a shower. :-0 .
     
  45. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

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    Need unlike button. Get well soon.
     
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