Event Title: Ice Axe Training
Event Date: 8 Apr 04
Owner: Yorke Brown
Scoutmaster-in-Charge: Yorke Brown
Report Date: 09 Apr 04 YB

Events Log

Thu 8Apr04
1500 -- Met at the Rec Center as planned. Scouts went to the Rec Center directly from school and were met there by Ted Simpson, who drove to the Skiway.
1540 -- Arrived at Skiway. (Yorke Brown had gone there directly.) Scouts changed clothes and packed. Weather was warm and sunny!
1600 -- Initial briefing. Proceeded to Lyme Drop, practicing step-kicking and clearing the fall line.
1620 -- At the Lyme Drop, we practiced self-arrest without ice axes, and with ice axes from sitting glissade, and from all positions (head up face down, head up face up, head down face up, and head down face down.) We also tried self-belay and step kicking for the climbs back up, and some sitting and standing glissades.
1715 -- Moved to the steeper slopes of "High IQ." Enroute we placed an ice screw in a patch of bare ice. At "High IQ" we practiced the easier self-arrest maneuvers, mainly from the seated glissade position. We also cut a snow bollard and descended from it by dulfersitz rappel.
1810 -- Descended to parking lot.
1830 -- Departed for Hanover.


Although snow production was much less this past winter than in previous winters, and the Lyme Drop was bare on its highest slope, there was still plenty of snow for effective training. The new "High IQ" trail is very steep and had enough snow to provide a realistic setting for practice. This new trail is a great location, but too steep for initial training. Future outing owners should plan to start out on Lyme Drop and move to High IQ only after the scouts are comfortable with the technique.

We had very good luck with demanding high standards of attention and discipline. The scouts were 100% WTP and also had lots of fun.

Lessons Learned

  • Even with incomplete coverage, Lyme Drop is still a good site for initial training.
  • High IQ is steep enough for realistic training. Go there only after completing instruction in all techniques.
  • The after-school pickup with the session running to about 1800 or so works fine. Two hours is enough time to get in a good orientation for novices, and good practice for the experienced. Future planners might consider taking food and extending the session until near sunset at 1900, but the two-hour session is good.


  • Scouts: 5
  • Adults: 2

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