Dr. Michael Thomas is a neurosurgeon with nearly 20 years of experience. He practices at Sea Spine Orthopedic Institute in Plantation, Florida. Outside his work as a neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Thomas enjoys a number of outdoor activities, including glacier hiking.
While hiking on a glacier can be an exhilarating experience, there are dangers to consider. It’s also a strenuous pursuit. Here are three tips for novice glacier climbers to keep in mind.
It’s important to have a realistic and healthy respect of crevasses. They aren’t always easily spotted. Newcomers should already have adequate knowledge and experience constructing z-pulley rescue systems and know how to conduct a crevasse rescue before ever setting foot on a glacier. Everyone in the hiking party should have this experience as well.
The flow of a glacier is in a constant state of transition. A team may make its way along one patch to the base of a climb and find itself having to construct a new route on the way back because of the glacier’s shift. Always keep in mind the flow of the glacier and its tendency toward change.
Both newcomers and experienced glacier climbers should be aware of where crampons are placed. For winter excursions, the group should always be roped together and in teams of three when possible. If and when one of the team members falls into a crevasse, the others should use their ice axes to dig in and keep the person from falling any further before the rescue operation begins.