20th August 2017: Technical Training Day at 3900m (Wenkie Lau)
Before this formal technical training day, I acclimatized quite well and had and open mindset of learning new techniques for ice climbing as this is the first time that I get to know about it and practice it in realistic environment. Therefore, I was excited to know how fast can I absorb the skills and techniques.
Waiting for our turn to abseil down
During the actual training, we went through different techniques. For example, rope up, ascending, abseiling, lateral traversing using ice axe and with safety line on. With the first time using crampons and ice axe on ice, there were times when my crampons and ice axe could not hold on ice properly. The loss of momentum for moving forward lead to wrong position of standing and waste of energy without moving on any further. With perseverance, I was at least able to finish the whole route that was being set up. There were many breaks I had taken in between.
After this technical training, I felt that I have underestimated the importance of techniques as the situation always can be different. Furthermore, I learnt to check my equipments before stepping any further as I felt my snow boots were not tight enough for me to stand up using front-pointing and cut in into the snow. Furthermore, if my technique is much better in using my cuff to stand in proper position, there will be less energy wasted.
Our team did well in helping each other to learn and point out mistakes, so mistakes won’t be committed again and suffer during the actual climb. The also involves the encouragement given to others to push each other to complete what we are supposed to learn and practice.
Roped up on glacier
However, more communication should be done when we are roped up, so teammates will not feel like being pulled. So that everyone can walk in comfortable pace and equal distance apart. Furthermore, with the lack of technique in ice climbing before the trip, it made up suffer and have less time to practice.