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Emergency Self-Arrest with an external framed backpack


Alex Wierbinski's picture

By Alex Wierbinski - Posted on 17 May 2011

Mountain Safety, High Sierra, External backpack as an Emergency self arrest device.

One Spring I discovered that an external framed backpack can provide emergency self-arrest services in a pinch.

During Springtime in the Sierra snow will remain along the North facing mountain slopes. Great berms of snow sit under the Northern crest line of Mount Reba until late Spring, if not into Summertime.

I encountered a very large example of this snow berm condition some time ago, and I learned from this experience how to use my external framed backpack as an effective self-arrest tool for late-Spring encounters with snow.

I don't suggest this as a replacement for carrying the proper gear for the snow conditions you will encounter. "Pack self-arrest" is an unreliable and unsuitable method for many of the wide range of conditions you may need to self-arrest.

But it may come in handy some day.

Check out the story about how I discovered this fact: Snow Berm Story 

Next ad-hoc self-arrest tool: My safety rock.

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