Saturday, April  4, 2020
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The Course Begins
The first day of our mountaineering course involves getting acquainted with the staff, and with gear fitting. Here our lead guide, James Blench, instructs us on the art of crampon fitting. [enlarge]
Yamnuska Snow and Ice Weekend - Day 1
We all gather round for details on how we are going to split up into groups, and what we will be doing for the first part of the day. [enlarge]
Falling into Crevasses = Bad
The guide for our sub-group, who is a native of New Zealand, instructs us on the negative aspects of crevasses, with the assistance of a handily-placed sign. The snout of the Athabasca glacier spreads away before us. [enlarge]
On the toe of the Athabasca Glacier
Another of our group gets some instruction on the toe of the Athabasca glacier [enlarge]
Athabasca Glacier
We are now on the Athabasca Glacier, and this shot looks uphill, towards our learning area for the day. [enlarge]
Our classroom for Day 1
This is an aerial view of our classroom. If you look carefully at the center of the picture, you will see groups of students. The trench running across the glacier's surface is the old path of the Sno-coaches. Years of grading the surface smooth have cut it down too far into the glacier, obscuring the tourists' view. So the sno-coach company has carved a new path some distance away. [enlarge]
Markus slathers up
Down in the trench illustrated in the previous picture. The glacier's surface here is totally exposed at this time of year (late September), so the focus is on crampon technique. [enlarge]
Rock and Ice
A view of the surface of the Athabasca glacier, contrasted with the barren rock of Nigel Peak in the background (3213m / 10,565ft) [enlarge]
Cramponing 101
The edge of the old sno-coach road makes for a good steep crampon test area. Here, Markus practices his front-pointing technique. [enlarge]
Markus - mighty? mountaineer
Markus poses, like a tank, with Mount Andromeda rising in the background. The icefall in the valley glacier in the background is where we will practice ice climbing on the second day. [enlarge]
Crevasse Rescue Practice
Our guide gives us a lecture about crevasse rescue techniques. [enlarge]
Crevasse Rescue Practice
We practice setting up a simple 2-to-1 anchor system, using ice screws, prussick knots, webbing, and carabiners. Markus is in the background holding onto the weight of the 'victim'. The 'victim' is myself who (where the picture is taken from) is dangling helplessly in a crevasse (not really). [enlarge]
Day 1 ends successfully
Markus trots back down to the snout of the glacier, next to a large meltwater hole (known as a moulin). So ends day 1 of our course! [enlarge]
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