P. Edronkin

The Piolet and its Applications (Part III).

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"As in the case of all tools when they are well used, a piolet can save you a lot of time, particularly over snowy ground, glaciers and also over loose rocks and rugged terrain, acting as a safe and comfortable walking aid.

For example, over soft but slippery terrain (mud, ice, snow, permafrost, etc.) you can carve steps in order to pass thorough such obstacles in a safer way. These steps should not be limited to vertical movements; you can also carve some in order to provide yourself with better lateral or horizontal movement possibilities.

When you carve such steps in order to produce a vertical 'staircase', these have to be deep and strong in order to place your feet securely and completely. That is, your whole soles should achieve contact with the soil, and not just a part of them or the point of your boots. For lateral or horizontal paths made on soft materials should have long carved steps.

Bear in mind the fact that diagonal paths over inclines should be provided with steps that should be carved combining the designs mentioned before. That is, the steeper the path becomes, the deeper your carved steps should become.

Subiendo por un nevero sin un piolet.
It is unsafe to climb ice or snow without carving steps

Take into account that carving steps is a time-consuming task, and on all your expeditions you should make ample room on your daily schedule if it is likely that you would find soft terrain on your path.

Moreover: you should assume that movement over slippery terrain could become very slow, even if you have already carved a path thorough it. In order to increase your speed over snow or mud on cold areas, it is preferable to move when temperatures are lower, such as during nights and early mornings."

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