Snow Climbing and Glacier Travel- Field Days

Dates: May 16-17, 2020

Leader: Forest Dean

Participants: Corey Hinshaw, Fain McGough, Sam, Esther Delsordo, Rhys McKinstry, Leland Earls

Although delayed by about a month this year (due to the COVID issues), for the third consecutive spring, we put together this weekend practice session to work on all things related to snow climbing and glacier travel. Two days prior, on Thursday, we held a roundtable session at Big Sky Brewery to discuss these important components of mountaineering. The session was again well attended with 10 folks showing up.

The previous two years we held this event at Snowbowl and then Marshall Mountain. This year, with it being a month later, I had to look for a higher location that would have some snow. I settled on the Baker Lake area just east of Trapper Peak as it allows for a short approach to some steep north facing snow slopes. We weren’t able to drive to the summer trailhead, but started at the switchback just below it. A 250’ scramble up through the woods and then a ¼ mile hike got us to that trailhead. From there it was about 1.5 miles to the lake where we set up camp.

About 12:30pm we began working on all things related to climbing steep snow and glacier travel. We roped up and did mock glacier travel. We then moved to steep snow climbing techniques, running belays, fixed belays, snow anchors, self arrest and rappelling. Wrapped up about 5:30pm. Several of us decided to then go for a nice evening ski or snowshoe up Trapper Peak- the ski down was great.

We got a leisurely start on Sunday morning as we sort of waited for the sun to pop out after some showers had come through early morning. Sunday morning training was spent on crevasse rescue- both team rescue and self rescue. We called it quits about noon, went back to camp, packed up and headed back to the vehicles.

As in years past, this was once again a great group of folks and I think we all had a good time. Its always great to get out this time of year and either learn for the first time, or refresh skills, for the upcoming summer climbing season. Thanks to all who participated!

Forest Dean

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