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Author Topic: Mount Rainier glacier skiing in 1953  (Read 2501 times)
Lowell_Skoog
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Mount Rainier glacier skiing in 1953
« on: 08/02/11, 09:59 PM »

I'm continuing to index photos in the Ira Spring collection. Recently I've been working on a box with ski pictures from Mt Rainier in the 1950s. These include stills from the making of "Skiing Above the Clouds" in about 1953.

I noticed some interesting shots of John Carter roping up for a winter ski tour on the Nisqually Glacier. These shots show how Ira Spring and his friends used the rope and prusik slings while skiing. In the first picture, Carter is arranging his prusik slings. (In this photo the rope runs through the carabiner on the sling across his torso):



Next is a photo of Carter apparently ready to ski. The rope no longer runs through the carabiner. (I presume that's deliberate, but I don't really know.)



Most interesting is the detail of his prusik arrangment. (See below.) Each prusik is threaded through a strap near the top of his ski boot. This keeps his prusiks from slipping off the boots at any time.

It appears that the prusiks are also threaded through his cable bindings. This would enable him to kick off his skis in a crevasse and dangle them near his feet while he is prusiking out. I'm not positive that's what he's done here, but it sort of makes sense:



It's cool to see how much thought they gave to self-rescue from a crevasse while skiing. Enjoy...

« Last Edit: 08/02/11, 10:04 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
Andrew Carey
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Re: Mount Rainier glacier skiing in 1953
« Reply #1 on: 08/03/11, 06:35 AM »

very interesting, thanks!
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... want your own private skintrack? Better move to the yukon dude. (B'ham Allen, 2011).
...USA: government of the people by corporate proxies for business.

Andy Carey, Nisqually Park, 3500 feet below Paradise
blitz
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Re: Mount Rainier glacier skiing in 1953
« Reply #2 on: 08/03/11, 06:48 AM »

Yikes! makes you appreciate kernmantle ropes and tubular nylon webbing...
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alisa
toby_tortorelli
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Re: Mount Rainier glacier skiing in 1953
« Reply #3 on: 08/03/11, 07:31 AM »

This is cool. I skin UP with prusiks under the arch of my boot, then clamped down by a buckle, ready to go. But, I have never seen anyone else use it! I question using it for skiing though. Seems like an accident waiting to happen, with no crevasse needed! I say that because I find the perfect length for skinning gives an occasional pull on the prusiks during a long stride.
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Lowell_Skoog
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Re: Mount Rainier glacier skiing in 1953
« Reply #4 on: 08/03/11, 08:20 AM »

This is cool. I skin UP with prusiks under the arch of my boot, then clamped down by a buckle, ready to go. But, I have never seen anyone else use it! I question using it for skiing though. Seems like an accident waiting to happen, with no crevasse needed! I say that because I find the perfect length for skinning gives an occasional pull on the prusiks during a long stride.

It's hard to know exactly how and when they used this technique. It's possible that they didn't use it during downhill runs. (On the other hand, I believe they skied downhill very slowly when roped.)

The context in which this photo was found has the skiers maneuvering around seracs and jumbled crevasses. Ira was looking for dramatic camera angles. Perhaps this was a special precaution.

If you watch the film clip referenced above, you won't see this prusik arrangement in use.

Maybe Ira took the picture to demonstrate "John Carter's crazy theory about glacier skiing." Or maybe it was a commonly used technique. It's hard to know. Paul Wiseman, who almost certainly would have known (he's featured in "Skiing Above the Clouds") passed away recently in his late 90s. There aren't many around anymore who we could ask about it.
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toby_tortorelli
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Re: Mount Rainier glacier skiing in 1953
« Reply #5 on: 08/04/11, 08:33 AM »

Ira was looking for dramatic camera angles. Perhaps this was a special precaution.

If you watch the film clip referenced above, you won't see this prusik arrangement in use.

Your short film link ends with a very dramatic camera angle. I think Ira got what he was after!
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Eben
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Re: Mount Rainier glacier skiing in 1953
« Reply #6 on: 08/26/11, 12:47 PM »

great pictures.  i see they don't have any self arrest knots in their glacier rope.  that seems pretty reckless to me but i guess men were cut from a different cloth back then. 

i think leather chopper mitts with the ragg wool liners are the way to go if it's not raining, they don't blow up in 2 months like the OR gore tex. 
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