Did you ever wonder how a solo mountaineer stays safe for glacier travel? What does one do to prevent falling into an abyss when there is nobody else to share a rope with?
For years, soloists have been devising creative ways to stay above ground – aluminum ladders, wooden poles, etc. On my solo January climb of Denali, I dragged a 12’6” black spruce pole. The idea is that the long pole will eventually wedge across the crevasse and arrest your fall.
This year, I was planning on towing a 13’ bamboo pole. We brought the bamboo poles back from our latest Nepal expedition – it was an adventure in itself to get these into checked baggage. During testing, the poles split, so it was onto plan B.
Ultimately, I went with a 13’2” aluminum pipe weighing in at 7.7lbs. It comprises of two sections, secured together in the centre with a metal dowel and locking pin. This design allows the poles to fit in a ski bag as checked luggage. This robust system should keep me above the snow.