Posted by on Jan 24, 2014

Next weekend (Presidents’ Day Weekend) the east coast members of the research team will be doing a glacier travel training in North Conway New Hampshire with a guide from International Mountain Equipment (IME), a mountaineering guide service.  Most members of the team have worked on glaciers before; however, it is always a good idea to brush up on the skills required to travel safely on a glacier.

The upper 50m or so of glacial ice is brittle and cracks open as the glacier moves over uneven bedrock.  These cracks, called crevasses, are a major danger to people walking on the surface of the glacier.  Because the upper 50m of the glacier can crack, the crevasses can be that deep-50m or about 150 ft!  That is a long way to fall!  Crevasses can become obscured by winter snowfall making spring glacier travel dangerous.

Climbers, hikers, and scientists traveling on a glacier usually do so roped together so that if someone falls into a crevasse, the other members of the rope team can stop the fall and extract the person from the crevasse.  Being comfortable with various roped travel techniques and systems is what we will be practicing.

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