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Deso - Dicks/Velma Trip Advice

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Re: Deso - Dicks/Velma Trip Advice

Postby Vaca Russ » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:12 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:I disagree that self arrest is easy or can be learned from a video. Yes, by the end of a day of self-arrest practice, you know the technique. But the question is if you will respond as instinct, immediately, if falling. Once you get going, only a few minutes, you can really pick up speed. Personally, I would simply use micro-spikes and maybe put snow baskets on your trekking poles. Crampons can actually become quite dangerous if you do not know how to use them. In snow melt conditions, snow often balls up under the crampon so wearing them can be worse. Wear high-friction clothing so if you do fall you do not slide so quickly. Really avoid slippery nylon. Be sure your shoes or boots have a very aggressive tread - really important to stick on snow. Kick a good step, pause a minute, then transfer your weight. That "sets" the boot in the snow. Then, if things get iffy, simply retreat. Be aware that the trail from Dick's Pass DOES NOT go right down the north facing slope- it stays high and then goes down when the slope eases. Even if covered in snow, try to stay near the trail.

Another worrisome feature of melting snow is stepping next to an unseen melt-out cavity, particularly common next to rocks and trees that are still buried in snow. I guess I am just saying that there are a lot of subtleties in dealing with snow, particularly during melt that are more important to know than simply having an ice axe or crampons. It takes years of backpacking on snow to get really good at "reading" the snow conditions.

Last year, I planned on going in Eagle Falls, but there was not one single parking spot, so went in Bayview instead. This is a very popular day-use area and the parking lots fill up really fast. It is not ugly by any means. The views of Lake Tahoe as you go up are quite nice. There will be mosquitoes! Be prepared.


All of what she said. You really need to practice, practice, practice self arrest so it is an instinct.

I fell up to my shoulders in a snow cavity.

Parking is really tough. For those of you looking for more info:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=14460

Thanks,

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway



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Re: Deso - Dicks/Velma Trip Advice

Postby Tom_H » Sun Jun 05, 2016 2:23 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:I disagree that self arrest is easy or can be learned from a video. Yes, by the end of a day of self-arrest practice, you know the technique. But the question is if you will respond as instinct, immediately, if falling.


(For the record, WD is responding to something I wrote in another thread. The post can be found at:
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=14331#p107661 )

Which is why I said that one should practice in a place without obstacles as soon as they reach such a location. All of us started as novices and went through a learning curve. There is no such thing as already being an expert the first time you actually slip.

Sure, I would prefer that you or I could take them out on the snow and instruct them personally beforehand, but we are talking to people who are going into these conditions without that benefit. If the only two choices are 1) they go with no ice axe and no knowledge of what to do, or 2) watch videos, take ice axes, and try some practice before going onto steeper slopes, then I would opt for the latter. Is it ideal? Not by a long shot. As I said in that previous post, I would prefer that they receive proper training first. Knowing they aren't going to do that, I would prefer to at least give them something.

Also, please note that I did not say it was easy. And I agree with you that it isn't. There is a lot to the technique. You have to know how to hold the thing and be ready before any slip happens. I do think it depends upon the person as to how quickly spinning into position and jamming the pick and toes, pulling back on the end, and arching the hips out all becomes instinctive. When I was a kid, I climbed trees, the exterior of buildings under construction, anything I could find. At seven, I fell out of a tree and broke two vertebrae in my back. I was in a brace for 6 months. I later became a climbing instructor, but my instincts were always razor sharp and on edge at every moment I was on steep rock or snow. I got to where I could relax on steep snow on skis, but never let go of intense focus when climbing or on ice.

At the very least, I hope this dialogue makes these folks realize this should not be taken lightly.
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Re: Deso - Dicks/Velma Trip Advice

Postby uscscott » Sun Jun 05, 2016 4:51 pm

I appreciate the discourse on the topic and all of the sound guidance. I suppose at the end of the day it comes down to knowing your limits and when to tap out.

The only way to gain experience is to do it so whether we tap out at the summit or somewhere short of the summit it'll be good to know that we will have new found experience up to that point of completion.

As much as I'd love to get formal training prior to the trip it just won't be feasible. We will just have to keep in mind that the goal is not to reach the summit but to get home safely and keep that checkpoint in mind as we travel. It sounds like the safest we can do is to get the proper equipment, train at a safe location until we get comfortable knowing it still isn't game-time training and then be cautious the rest of the way.

SSSDave will be in the area so worse comes to worse it'll be SOSDave... :)
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Re: Deso - Dicks/Velma Trip Advice

Postby alpinemike » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:28 pm

Fortunately there should be several slopes to practice on before heading up to the summit. Judging by the melt I've seen in the past 3 days I wouldn't be surprised if quite a bit of the snow that these recent reports show will be gone by the 17th. June is shaping up to be a warm month so far.. which is fairly typical of an El Nino preceding winter. I just hope that all the heat doesn't produce a record breaking number of days of rain and thunderstorms again this summer. 2014 was bad enough.
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Re: Deso - Dicks/Velma Trip Advice

Postby Vaca Russ » Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:17 am

SSSdave wrote:I might add that 3 of us are going in with a headlamp night hike at Glen Alpine Springs on Friday evening June 17 with our destination the sunny south side of Dicks Peak down near Half Moon Lake that ought be much drier and greener than your side. Our weekend backpacking warm-up trip of the summer. Will be taking my fish pole along too! Just printed out the recreation.gov permit last night. Got some gear chores to do first and since am home today Sunday and it will be a warm day might point a hose into my Big Agnes UL1 tent floor tub with some water and check for leaks. Probably should also toss my few years old Home Depot blue reinforced nylon tarp ground sheets and buy a couple news ones.


Dave, this is a bird's eye view of Half Moon taken on Friday.

Half Moon.jpg


Much of the ice and snow will be melted by the 17th. Good luck and let us know about the fishing. :nod:

-Russ
” Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games.”- Ernest Hemingway
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Re: Deso - Dicks/Velma Trip Advice

Postby SSSdave » Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:42 am

Thanks VR. About what I would expect early June 3. Reno NWS forecasts the next week warm including a big wind event that ought accelerate the melt. And Climate Prediction Center 6 to 10 and 10 to 14 day forecasts are all showing above normal temperatures. Can still see a sheet of ice out on Susie too. Thus expect indeed most of the snow along the trail and in the flats at the destination bench will be gone by next weekend followed by a quick rise in usual early season wildflowers like kalmia latifolia, anemone occidentalis, phlox diffusa, caltha leptosepala, penstemon newberryi, ceanothus, and phyllodoce breweri over the following week. In any case we ought to find some usual fun midday boot skiing down areas of shadier snow while bringing along Koolaide for snow cones. The trail swings all around the north side of the lake but we will vector off well before that where the trail reaches the bench and first ponds then cross the creek and find a nice secluded campable spot well south of the lakes below one of the many Sierra junipers.

David
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