The Code of the Traverse
Originally Posted by Jer
Believe it or not there is an unwritten courtesy code to skiing, just like most other sports. .....
Your statement brings me momentarily to cycling in a group. The code of riding in a group is so well defined (and it sure as hell has to be, asphalt being far less amusing to fall on than snow) that you can go anywhere in the world with your bicycle, talking road riding here, and join in with a group, and know exactly how to sit in. Skiing has much of the same deal going, the need for a code and the penalties for not having one that works. So, yeah, I'm with you on skiers getting their collective heads together.
One thing I would like to propose involves hiking traverses, boot packs and ski hikes. If the traverse can be negotiated either with skis on or off, it is imperative that the boot hikers, and snow boarders out there, you are always going to be boot hikers, get yourselves collectively organized and make your own trail. Skiers with their skis on carve a very particular kind of track, a combination of various forms of sidestepping and herringboning that develops through time into the most efficient track for the terrain. For it to function well, it can't have ANY, that is ANY f'ing post holes in it. Post holes prevent the edge from gliding or holding. Why is it that the ski hikers can get organized and cut a perfect track for all users, and the boot hikers just sprawl all over the damn hill? Is it the snowboarders out there? Is it the demographics of the snowboarders out there, hiking three across with their pants down around their knees? (woah, I'm freakin' here) There is an advantage even for boot hikers to setting well spaced steps, toe holds, and packed tracks on the right portion of the hill. If done properly, boot hikers can make more efficient progress up the hill as well. I sometimes set the boot track up an untracked ridge of deep snow, 50 degree pitch, scree, powder, and ice. I am super proud of doing a good job on toes holds that are well spaced and sharply cut, set on a good line to accomplish the gnar hike as safely and as fast as possible, and I enjoy seeing them used by everyone (some heavy dudes) for days, even weeks ahead. Even here, a CODE applies. Don't damage the toe holds on a crucial ice section by lazily dropping your heels, busting down the hold and filling it with snow. Maintain the toe holds with each step as you go by pointing your toe and kicking out loose snow, carving away damage to the hold caused by the less conscious. thanks for listening. happy hiking. to the code!