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Taco

Annual Winter Mountaineering Clinic

UPDATE 20141226: Please note that this thread is old, but the info is the same. I've changed the title from 2014 to Annual to make a bit more sense.

For 2015, the projected date is January 17. This will change if we do not receive enough snow. Deja vu!

Original post follows:

Much of this thread will be rather informal, but I will post up details when it's all worked out.

Projected date is sometime in the middle of January. What really matters is that conditions are right. I will try to post a week or more in advance, but conditions and terrain dictate.

Anywho, the gist of it is that a large group of us will be doing all kinds of winter mountaineering training in Baldy Bowl, from self-arrest to roped travel etc. Nobody is certified (yet), insured, whatever. We are good friends getting together to work on skills, learn, and have a good time together. If this sounds cool to you, read on.

I am going to be training with a handful of friends, so again this will be an informal event where you can go with these people over here and learn self-arrest, or these guys over here, or whatever. I figure we will have everyone meet at the Ski Hut and I will stand on my soap box and preach about the activities, and who is doing what.

I am also thinking of staying at the Ski Hut overnight, as I've never spent the night there and that's way cooler than bivying, which is for suckers. Wink

I'm pretty excited to do this. Smile

Past event: http://sangabrielmnts.myfreeforum....html&highlight=winter+clinic
Johnny Bronson

=) I can help carry the soap box,dutch oven and hand grenades. Anything you need kind sir.
Here is a positive outlook for a great upcoming winter season!
fortified

If "self arrest" only brings up a thought of perhaps arresting yourself before the police get there, to make it easy, ....I would guess this might not be a place for ones first time mountaineering?
outwhere

Re: 2014 Winter Mountaineering Clinic

Taco wrote:
at the Ski Hut and I will stand on my soap box and preach about the activities, and who is doing what.

Laughing  Laughing  Laughing

Taco, this scene is classic enough already..... but what about throwin' on one of those stove pipe hats... i think it would complete a fine picture  Wink besides, i think if you stand on a soap box, you HAVE to wear a stove pipe hat  Razz

[bad] jokes aside... i wish you and all tons of snow and fun... sounds like a good time...
Mike P

If my work schedule works out, I'm in! Thanks!
Beantown

Is this open for beginners?  I have no mountaineering experience and I'd like to learn safely and the right way
Taco

Laughing

This is open to anyone as long as they have crampons, an axe, and a helmet.
atypicaleric

I'm in!
JeffH

Taco wrote:
Laughing

This is open to anyone as long as they have crampons, an axe, and a helmet.



Do we need to know how to use them?
I have crampons, worn them twice. No axe, no helmet unless you count my bicycle lid which I doubt.
Reminds me, I found some older Camp rigid-type crampons in my garage when I moved, the kind that latch over the back of your mountaineering boots. Free to good home....

I am definitely in for this.
Beantown

I don't own crampons, I've ax or a helmet but I'll put them on my Xmas list.  I don't know how to use then either but I have a general idea.
Max Falcon

Im in!  Schneeeeee!  Weeeeeee! Very Happy
Taco

You don't really need to know how to use them, as that's what the clinic is for. Still, find some material online on how to hold an ice axe in piolet canne self-arrest position, and familiarize yourself with the equipment before you're there.

The hike to the hut may require crampons. An axe or poles will probably be helpful.
Hikin_Jim

I'm interested.   Cool

HJ
Taco

Jim, your presence would be an honor as always. Smile
Hikin_Jim

You appear to have misspelled "horror".   Twisted Evil

HJ
VermillionPearlGirl

If other total newbies are going, then I'll go Smile
I've wanted to learn these things but haven't.
I've wanted to buy these items but haven't.

This is if I'm still here in January because I'm trying to move to Oregon. But I'm currently not trying very well. (Oregon will always be there, right?)

So for those of us who don't even own gear yet, how about some handy recommendations? Smile

Also, you're awesome for doing this Smile
bschmalz

I'm interested in this as well Smile
Taco

We will probably have some loaner gear up there, and you guys should also use this opportunity to try out anything anyone else is kind enough to lend you for a quick test drive.

If I could recommend a general mountaineering axe for SoCal, I'd go with something light with a steel head and spike and an aluminium shaft. The Black Diamond Raven is nice, and there is a Raven Pro as well.

Hold the axe in your hand with your arms down at your side. The tip of the spike (at the bottom) should be at your anklebone level, according to conventional theory. If it's a little bit longer, it's better for nontechnical stuff like Baldy, San G, Rainier, less-steep slopes. Shorter is better for steeper. I would go with the conventional way first, leaving fancier axes for steeper terrain for later.

Crampons should ideally be a strap type that can fit on many different shoes and boots. Always go with steel crampons in the San Gabes. Aluminium ones require more careful use, and are usually for ski mountaineers. The Black Diamond Contact Strap 10-point crampon is pretty standard. An equal model from Petzl or another company is essentially the same with better this but worse that, the usual trade offs.

I'd suggest a helmet of course. A hard-shell helmet is probably best, though some folks wear the thinner lighter ones climbing sometimes. I've been hit by rockfall a lot of times before and only had it on the head a couple times, but I was glad it was a hardshell, or I'd need a new helmet. The theory is that with a hardshell, you can get hit more before having to get rid of the helmet. Personal choice though.

Footwear is anything waterproof for this clinic. Anything you feel safe on 45 degree snow with. If you plan on doing more mountaineering, buying a good set of light mountain boots such as the La Sportiva Trango would be a very good investment. A stiffer boot means more precision in climbing with crampons, and also makes kick-stepping very easy. That said, I'm sure we've all gone up the Bowl in trailrunners and strap crampons before.

Any other piece of gear I missed? Smile
bschmalz

I recently picked up a CORSA ice axe to use if I hit sketchy conditions and am worried about self arrest. I'm not planning on doing any technical climbing with it ever. I assume it should be sufficient for this trip. Am I correct in that assumption? I realize a more sturdy head would be better, but since I plan on carrying this on my pack 99 percent of the time and taking it on some sierra backpacking trips I wanted to keep the weight down.
Taco

That sounds just fine to me. I don't think the aluminum head would be beaten on hard enough for it to be a problem. A hollow shaft might provide you with a method of flinging tubular snowballs at greater velocity.
bschmalz

Excellent. Now I just need crampons and I qualify for the trip Smile. I mainly want to refresh my self arrest skills and maybe meet some like minded people. Thanks for putting this together.
VermillionPearlGirl

That definitely helps me know what to look for Taco!

I'll have to go dig out my old boots for the crampons! They're in the back of my closet somewhere. I've been hiking in Five Fingers for years now, even in the snow. But not like, yknow, the kind of snow you're talking about Smile

Big winter jackets and base layers and waterproof clothing and heavy boots. I don't know how you guys even move! This should be interesting Smile
Taco

Us fast guys don't wear big heavy anything if we can help it. I'll probably be in a t-shirt most of the time.
tekewin

I am definitely interested, and I have one friend interested as well.

I have some minimal experience in snow and have just completed my gear (except helmet).  Grivel G10 crampons and BD raven axe.  I plan to hit something high in the Gabes this month, not sure what yet.

As long as there is not a work conflict, I'll be there.

Thanks in advance for doing this!
Phil B

This sounds like a fun and worthwhile way to brush up on our skills, I'm in if it's on a weekend, also have a spare helmet and other stuff if anyone needs it.
Maybe have a few beers afterwards??????
aklackner

Heck yeah

I'm up to get in some training! I'll be in Mexico 1/10-1/20 to climb Itza, Orizaba, and bum around some, but any weekend outside of that I should be good to go. If there's interest I can bring my crevasse rescue kit and\or avy gear and we can practice if we find a suitable area.
JeffH

Need to get more white stuff soon so I can participate, now I'm scheduled for knee surgery on Jan 16. No hiking for eight weeks after that.
thiseukaryote

Count me in!

What time would you guys be heading up to stay overnight at the ski hut? I would be up for that as well, if there are people heading up after work the day before.
I've only been up there once, so not sure if I should try getting there by myself in the dark.
Jeremiah_Johnson

Hi-
New to the forum...
Have required gear and would love to join.
Might need a ride from Echo Park though.
HikeUp

Great movie.
Taco

thiseukaryote wrote:
Count me in!

What time would you guys be heading up to stay overnight at the ski hut? I would be up for that as well, if there are people heading up after work the day before.
I've only been up there once, so not sure if I should try getting there by myself in the dark.


If I could, I'd spend the previous day up there doing something, so probably early morning the day before. This is assuming I can secure the hut for a small-ish group.
Logan

This sounds cool.  I am in.  We just need some snow now.
Hikin_Jim

Snow?  What's that?

HJ
Taco

Originally I figured mid-January, buuuuut... who knows! We will know once the Bowl is in condition.
Beantown

Praying for snow and eager to try some mountaineering.  I just got back from dry lake overnight not much snow up there either.  I picked up a book mountaineering freedom of the hills to get me started till the snow!
Taco

I reckon I don't have to tell everyone that this event is being pushed back "hella far", or cancelled altogether. This is the worst winter I've ever experienced, because it isn't even here.
Jeremiah_Johnson

Anyone know about a local glacier maker for hire?
atypicaleric

Winter Mountaineering Clinic

Is this Winter Mountaineering Clinic starting to happen again? I see snow! Very Happy
rocketboy

I second atypicaleric's question. If this is back on again at all this winter, I'd love to join.
Taco

A Saturday in January would be good. I have a very hard time requesting time off despite my extremely low social standing, so we would need to pick a day kinda right now. Confused
Stockwell

Jan 17th or Jan 24th would be perfect for me! Highly interested, as always haha, I try and get ready for this every year but have never made it via gear, conditions, etc.
HikeUp

Re: Winter Mountaineering Clinic

atypicaleric wrote:

"A typical Eric" or "(an) Atypical Eric"?

And in either case...where's the dividing line?
mrnizegy

I'd love to join in on this and meet some of you. Those dates would work for me. Doing Icehouse to Timber tomorrow!
grammacrobat

I would love to join the group as well! I have all the gear and have a few winter ascents already under my belt. Would be great to learn and practice technique.
Taco

OK, so far we have Jan 17 and Jan 24. I like 17. Whadaya say guyz?
Stockwell

I will be keeping an eye on this thread Taco, the 17th would be awesome. More to hear hopefully as we get closer to than!
Taco

The 17th seems to be the popular choice so far. I'll plan on it and try to get that day off.
Gabriel

I'm interested as well, I just got back from up there yesterday just past the ski hut, there is so much snow my legs were sinking and to soft for a climb up the face so we had to fall back.

Edit: I can do the 17th but may I request the 10th? It's also a Saturday and 3 weeks away. Maybe I'm just a little impatient Wink
Taco

You can do whatever you please, but I can only have one of those days off. Not that it's required that I'm there, but I typically organize the event.
kylemypaa

I'd love to get in on this...
Beantown

I would like to get in on this, either date works for me.  I have all the gear just need to put it to use!
Taco

I've updated the name of the thread to make more sense.

For those of you new to this, here is a gear list. I'm covering essentials and not clothing/layers, as that's individual.

-Crampons: I would suggest strap crampons over microspikes. Microspikes are just fine for most outings in the area, and probably adequate for what is taught at the clinic, but they're more of a hiking tool than a mountaineer's tool. Black Diamond, Petzl, Camp, and Grivel all make easy to find strap crampons that can fit over most any waterproof boot.

-Boots: Anything waterproof will work, however you'd be best served by a light alpine boot designed specifically for mountaineering. It makes the experience much better. An example of such a boot would be the La Sportiva Trango, which is the gold standard.

-Axe: A standard mountaineering axe is best. I usually carry the common/standard Black Diamond Raven, 70cm in length. One may choose to have a leash for it. You can either buy one from REI or a similar location, or you can just make one out of webbing or a sling. Some do not use a leash.

-Helmet: A helmet is strongly suggested for climbing the bowl, or really any steep snow route in the San Gabriels. We have very loose rock here, and the freeze-thaw cycle loosens them and sends missiles down on climbers. We can discuss forecasting and route selection to avoid such objective hazards.


For layers and clothing, I would suggest highly water resistant pants that you don't mind beating up. You will be falling down a snow slope and self-arresting with an axe. and snow can be abrasive. Protect your skin and perhaps don't wear a $50,000 Arc`Teryx Mega Elite jacket. Wink Goretex gaiters are also a swell idea.

Any questions?
kylemypaa

When and where?  Smile
Taco

January 17
How does meeting at the hut by 9am sound to everyone? Or perhaps in the bowl? I don't mean to direct excess traffic into the Ski Hut if that's a concern.

Last time (heh, the only time), we met at the bottom of the south side of the bowl, which has zero rockfall hazard (that day). I guess we'll all figure to meet in the bottom of the bowl around 9.
kylemypaa

I'll be there.
bluerail

last time was fun too
Mike P

Bummer, last time was fun!  Gotta' work that weekend...
simonov

Here are some pics from the 2011 clinic: https://www.flickr.com/photos/simonov/sets/72157625681541187/





I'm sorry I can't make it this year; I already scheduled a hike with the teens that day.
Mike P

Thanks, Mitch! Yup, that's me following my friend Chad up the ridge.
I highly recommend that if any of you haven't tried or need to practice self-arrest, this is the place to do it. Great times! Thanks, Taco!

simonov wrote:



I'm sorry I can't make it this year; I already scheduled a hike with the teens that day.
Taco

I do hope we get more snow, cause if we don't... Imma need some ideas. Confused
longcut

clinic

Excuse me mister taco sir, but would it be a good idea to select a backup date in case snow level on jan17 sucks snowballs...sir?

Adan (tallkan)
Taco

That would be a wise decision.

How about some time in February? I've burned all my stars or whatever for taking time off in January.

February 7th, 14th, 21st?
Taco

OK, I'm setting it for February 14. Everything else remains the same. Axe, crampons, helmet. Meeting at the ski hut at 9am.
tekewin

I'm not sure I can make the winter clinic, as much as I would enjoy it.

I thought I'd throw another unrelated idea out there for you...

How about a basic canyoneering clinic? From my own perspective, really basic, like what kind of rope and webbing to use, building and testing hitches, belay/rappel devices, etc.
Taco

That is usually handled as a trip with the machete brothers. 2-3 'guests' max. There are a few of us, so everything is real buttoned down, even if it feels casual.

I would want to have a small student to instructor ratio for anything technical.

So, yes, but small. Smile
marevalo

Annual Winter Mountaineering Clinic

Hi all,

A friend forwarded me the link to this discussion, and I would really like to join this practice session.  Is it definitely rescheduled for Feb. 14th? Are any experienced instructors available and interested in going out on Jan. 17th? I have a lot of backpacking experience and some snow travel (snowshoeing, snow camping), but not any ice axe/crampon stuff. I know there are a limited number of "guests," but I would love to join if possible. Please let me know.

Thanks,
Molly
Robert Busta

Maybe snow on Baldy this weekend!

Very Happy Maybe snow on Baldy this weekend! Ya think it'll still be there on the January 17th? Is that still the plan? (BTW, I'm new--I just registered a few minutes ago)
Taco

In order for the clinic to happen, we need enough consolidated snow in the bowl to practice proper axe and crampon technique. This requirement has not yet been met. Slopes available to train on are north facing and are far from beginner group friendly.

I doubt I will try to host this clinic again. I've had to cancel it before for the same reasons, and it's a lot of trouble organizing and advertising a free clinic only to consistently cancel it because our climate does not support scheduled expected conditions.

The date of February 14 is not solid, because we could very well have poor conditions then as well. If conditions are not right, I will 'cancel' the event. Again, I work weekends because I'm a retail slave, so I have little flexibility.

I would expect a week's notice if the clinic is on or not. Always depends on conditions. It's nature.
HikingGeek.com

Hi Taco,

Any suggestions on where I could go to practice with crampons and ice axe that's away from the crowds like what's present on the Baldy Bowl? If there's a spot to glissade, that'd be a bonus.

I do have some experience with the equipment, but want to get out more. I had some 'formal' training in highschool(15 yrs ago).  I spent some time in Yosemite in addition to climbing, then glissading the chute to the north of the switchbacks on Whitney last June.

Thanks!
snmtbaldy

Hi Taco,
It will be impossible to expect consolidated snow condition on certain day in the month. Even the snow from last two storms finally consolidate enough to be slippery just recently.

I don't know what you are going to teach but there is still good amount of snow in some steep enough slopes and canyons above 9000 feet of Goode canyon. The Goode canyon is west side of regular Ski hut trail to the summit.

How about north facing slopes of Ontario peak?

How about south facing slopes of West Baldy?

How about a 100 yard stretch section of steep west facing slope of Bear canyon trail at bottom of West Baldy? This place offers a good practice area with very safe catch basin.

Let's hope more snow!!

Shin
Taco

snmtbaldy wrote:
Hi Taco,
It will be impossible to expect consolidated snow condition on certain day in the month. Even the snow from last two storms finally consolidate enough to be slippery just recently.

I don't know what you are going to teach but there is still good amount of snow in some steep enough slopes and canyons above 9000 feet of Goode canyon. The Goode canyon is west side of regular Ski hut trail to the summit.

How about north facing slopes of Ontario peak?

How about south facing slopes of West Baldy?

How about a 100 yard stretch section of steep west facing slope of Bear canyon trail at bottom of West Baldy? This place offers a good practice area with very safe catch basin.

Let's hope more snow!!

Shin


Hikinggeek,
Right now I'd say the northeast face of Baldy might be good. You can go up Devils Backbone, over Harwood, and onto the face. Not sure what else is in condition right now with this 'winter' we've got.

Shin,
I was looking at Goode over these past few trips. It's not in the most convenient spot for a clinic, but it's doable. We would need to move there as a group, I would think.

Most of the terrain I've been on on Ontario's NF is either steep and technical, or low angle. I'm not sure where we would do it.

I'm unfamiliar with Bear Canyon, having never hiked it, so I cannot comment on that area.

I've given up on snow inside. You guys better pull for it! I'm convinced we won't have any good winters anymore. Smile
Taco

I am no longer interested in hosting a clinic for winter mountaineering. The weather rarely cooperates, it's very challenging to get the time off despite my low social/job standing, and it's a lot of work trying to make sure everyone interested is informed and not disappointed. I do not receive any financial assistance from this to make all the work worthwhile, and I strongly believe in not charging anyone for access to our hills, which is one of the few free things we have left in our sad society. Not to sound negative or anything.

So, I'm done. If anyone else wishes to host a clinic to show folks how to put their crampons on the right feet, walk up big cold hills, and not get killed by falling objects etc etc etc, have at it. Might wanna move north a few hundred miles first.

Thank you guys for your positive responses and support for this clinic, and/or the idea for the clinic. I appreciate that. That has always been my payment, of sorts.

Adios
Stockwell

Sad Our winters really have just been awfully rejecting these past few seasons. Thanks for trying though, every year i have wanted to join and the one year it sounded like a great success i couldn't make it due to no gear. I appreciate the effort anyways and, frankly it's understandable you're tired of trying to host something that you can't really control/garuntee, new-winter climbers such as myself appreciate the effort from community members like you in the first place.

Thanks anyways! Maybe we will have a 2010-11 winter again next year!

Cheers
Taco

Let's hope we get a good one this year. I'd like to have the clinic this season.
zZClintEastwoodZz

Taco wrote:
Let's hope we get a good one this year. I'd like to have the clinic this season.

After next weeks massive dump i hope your'e going to do the clinic! just let me know the date and ill be there!!! only thing left to get is an ice axe.....   Cool
Taco

What do you guys think of this Sunday, the 17th?
JeffH

Where and when. I'd like to learn some skills. Don't have an axe either.
But I do have a set of rigid crampons, free to a good home.
wiggingout

Im in for the 17th!
Taco

Turnout is too low so far. I'm holding off on this weekend. I am swamped with work and don't have time/energy to spare. Backup date would be sometime in February.

Default time and place would be Baldy Ski Hut at 8am. Crampons, axe, and helmet.

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