Saturday, June 14, 2008

SAC Ice Course

We took part in a course organized by the SAC Basel for learning about how to organize and do glacier trips.

Starting from the bus stop at the Räterichsbodensee (1767m) the group (more than 60 people) walked up to the Bächlitalhütte (2328m). After dropping off our extra stuff and having lunch, we then all headed up onto the Bächligletscher (~2700m) to practice roping up, traveling on the rope, using the ice pick, moving around in crampons, and the basics of what to do when someone falls into a crevasse.
After heading back to the hut and having dinner there was a bit of discussion about trip planning and equipment.

Sunday we headed up to the glacier again and did more rescue practice, further walking around on the rope, anchoring to the ice using ice screws, traversing steep ice faces.

We finished by being lowered into a crevasse and climbing/being pulled out (Greg skipped this because he didn't have a helmet and was tired).

Then we headed back down to the hut, repacked our packs, and went back to the Räterichsbodensee for the bus home. Along the way we did some nice butt sledding on the really steep bits of snow. :-)

The weather was mostly pretty grim: overcast and snowing, often with limited visibility. But at least it wasn't raining.

One big lesson from the weekend: if we're going to do more of this stuff we definitely need proper mountain shoes. Our trekking boots just aren't up to the task of being in snow for hours or doing steep faces in crampons.

The train back from Interlaken was completely full of kids on their way home from an open-air festival; what a culture shock that was!

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