Survival Skills: Self-Arrest
A self-arrest allows a climber to prevent a slip on snow or ice from turning into an uncontrolled slide. While moving uphill, the climber should hold his/her axe firmly in the uphill hand, with the spike pointing into the surface. The pick at the top of the axe should be pointing behind the climber.
In the event of a fall the climber should immediately place his/her free hand on the lower end of the shaft, just above the spike. The climber should bring the uphill hand up to just above his/her shoulder and drive the pick into the snow/ice surface.
With the uphill hand in this position, the climber can put the maximum amount of force into the pick, thus stopping the slide. The climber must avoid having their crampons snag on the snow or ice, which would cause him/her to flip head over heels.
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