Last Updated on June 22, 2020
How to walk in the snow: Walking in the snow is a great experience, but it also involves various risks and is very physically demanding. To walk through the snow and enjoy the experience to the fullest, in addition to wearing clothes according to the weather and good boots.
How to Walk in the Snow
There are a series of ice sporting accessories that will make it easier for us to move through the snow and will make it much safer, avoiding accidents. We then go on to list them.
Snowshoes are a very useful accessory to cover areas of snow that do not have steep slopes. Snowshoes adapt to our shoes and allow us to walk on the snow easily without sinking.
The size of the racket must correspond to the weight of the user. Still, it is important to consider its capacity to support weight, not only the body weight, but you must also calculate the weight in case of carrying a backpack or other equipment. Too small rackets can cause us to sink continuously if they are not large enough, or conversely, if they are too large for our body, it won’t be easy to maneuver.
The technique to use them is not complicated at all, and you just have to get used to walking with “feet” wider than normal and try not to get stuck, lifting your feet a little more.
Crampons are metallic devices placed on the boot’s sole to improve its adherence to snowy or icy surfaces. The crampon must have the same surface as the boot’s sole, and the length is variable so that they can be adapted to each foot. The bottom of the crampon has a series of sharp points that are those that penetrate snow or ice, facilitating movement without slipping.
The crampon must have an anti-clog system that prevents snow from accumulating between the tips since if this occurs, the gripping action would be much less, and there could be slips. The crampon must adapt perfectly to the boot so that it does not move and makes it difficult for us to move or let go.
Depending on the use, we can distinguish the following types of crampons:
- Aluminum: they can be ten or twelve points. They are used in rigid boots, normally in cross-country ski boots, and they are of the “quick stop” type, they only have a strap designed to prevent accidental opening in the heel.
- Steel: twelve points and quick stop. Normally used for hiking boots, mountaineering or ice climbing. They have straps that ensure both the heel and the toe
- In twelve-point steel and straps. Intended for flexible or semi-rigid boots, they do not have stops, so they are secured to the boot by straps: they are therefore more uncomfortable to put on and also usually require various adjustments throughout a day.
An ice ax or pickaxe is a versatile cane-like tool that has many uses, from maintaining balance, hoisting on a slope, and even stopping us in a fall.
The ice ax is made up of the following elements:
- Head or cross: Includes the pike and the flake, normally made of metal. It is used for self-arrest or assurance. In its center, it usually has a hole through which we can pass a carabiner or rope.
- Leaf or pica: Hook-shaped or curved part of the head, with teeth at the end. Its special shape allows the ice ax to hook better in case it has to be used to avoid a fall.
- Flake or shovel: The widest part of the head. It is used to cut hard snow or ice. Some models have a hammer instead.
- Dragonera: Strap with an adjustable loop, to be able to secure the ice ax in the user’s hand.
- Handle: Usually made of metal, aluminum or titanium, or some compound like fiberglass, Kevlar, or carbon filaments.
- Tip or spike: The ice ax “ends” in a steel tip that is used to drive the ice ax in the snow and thus achieve the necessary stability or balance
The ice ax we use must be long enough so that, grasped by the cross, we can easily reach the snow with the tip.
When transporting it, keep in mind that it is a tool that can be considered dangerous and must be transported with care. The most common forms of transportation are as follows
- On the outside of the backpack: we will leave it in the backpack when we know that we will not use it for a certain time. The ice ax goes outside, and we must make sure that it is properly tied. It must also have protections in the pick, shovel, and tip.
- Between the backpack and our back: this can be the most uncomfortable way and also requires that we get rid of the backpack in order to get the ice ax. To avoid damaging ourselves, it is important that we protect all parts of the ice ax well and ensure it well since it can give us back problems if it moves.
- In the hand: if we are going through an area of little difficulty but in which we want to help ourselves with the ice ax, we must carry it in our hand. The most correct thing is that we take it as if it were a cane, grasping it by the head.
Snow Walking Techniques
Depending on the difficulty that the area implies, the technique to move through the snow will be different:
- Low tilt areas: We will use a “walk” step. If we wear crampons, we must separate the feet slightly to avoid getting the tips stuck, and use the flat feet technique, which consists of trying to nail all the tips of each foot, except the front ones.
- Zones of moderate inclination: Here, we will use the ice ax, which we will use as a cane, holding it by the head, with the index fingers and thumb along with the handle. The progression technique is simple: we should only try to nail it with the arm extended, as far as possible, in the direction of the march; then, we will rest our weight on the ice ax and take a double step to move forward with more comfort. After this, we repeat the entire movement. If we are facing a sloping slope but without excessive slope, the most correct thing is that we try to move diagonally, choosing the progression slope that best suits us at all times. It is important to highlight that, while we are ascending the ice ax must always be carried in the hand of the mountain, that is, the one closest to the slope.
- Slope areas: If we are facing a steep slope, we will need secure support, and for this, we will use the broom ice ax technique, which consists of taking the ice ax by the tip or tip with both hands and sticking the pike into the snow. We ascend facing the mountain as if we were climbing stairs. In this type of surface, it is very important that we guarantee the nailing of all the tips of the crampons, including the front ones. In addition, we must always place the hips in the same direction as the foot of the mountain, because this way, the support is facilitated.
- Change direction: If we have to change direction and we do not have crampons, we will use the ice ax, which we will nail at the heel of the foot of the mountain, we will open the foot of the mountain in duck foot and, with the ice ax nailed, we will change the ice ax direction and support hand. After that, we turn the foot of the valley that will become the foot of the mountain, already in the new direction. If we have the crampons on, we can make a change of direction facing the valley. For this, we change the hand ax and take it to the new direction, looking towards the valley. Once the ice ax is nailed again, we must move with small steps.
- Descend: We can descend in two different ways: Face to the valley is the safest option, which we will use whenever the terrain allows it. Another is making diagonals.
You may also like to read