Traveling over Wet Glaciers

Author: M Wilkinson and Mike Barter and MCS

Ice Climbing Wet Glacier Travel Picture

Traveling over a wet glacier (that's a glacier covered in snow) is a part of every day alpine life. It can be extremely hazardous and there are a few techniques and skills to learn to help you navigate and stay safe on your way to and from an alpine


First make sure you cover up , your arms and legs and wear gloves, it may be warm but if you fall into a crevasse it will get very cold very quickly and it's very difficult to put a jacket on when you upside down! Unless you have a large group on the rope then crampons are essential, even if you group is large its always recommended to wear them, also every person on the rope must carry a crevasse rescue kit.

Ski or walking poles are useful over flat or slightly inclined terrain but you must have you axe in hand as well, only one walking pole should be used, and attention should be focused on the axe hand incase of an emergency. when roping up, do not use hand coils to shorten the rope

whilst traveling, make sure there is enough rope between climbers before setting off along the glacier and that there is enough slack between climbers as well.

For ascent, the most experienced climber should go first, with the next experienced at the rear, for a decent this principle works in reverse with the most experienced at the back.

Check out these video's for more tips on glacier travel





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