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Self-Arrest Skills Save Lives on Snow-Covered Slopes

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Kick Your Toes Into the Slope
Self-Arrest Skills Save Lives on Snow-Covered Slopes

A hiker kicks her toes into a snow slope to complete her self-arrest with an ice axe.

Photo credit Franck Bocamy © Traci J. Macnamara.

Once you’ve nearly stopped, kick your toes vigorously into the slope to help. But beware: kicking your toes into the slope before you have your pick planted solidly could cause you to flip. So wait to kick until you have good purchase with your pick.

Once you’ve stopped, stomp a good platform into the snow before you stand up. Then kick steps into the snow slope to regain your position back uphill.

When you’re out in the high country this summer, check conditions with rangers at a park in your area. If they recommend that you carry an axe, take one with you and practice this skill.

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