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Adventure Magazine

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The Adventurer's Handbook
30 Crucial Skills, Nifty Tips, and Shameless Shortcuts
By Robert Earle Howells

How to Slide Down an Icy Slope

You've started to master the art of sliding down the mountain on your keister, but do you know the proper way to put on the brakes? Chris Carr, a senior guide for Shasta Mountain Guides in northern California, says that "nine out of ten people are doing it wrong": They hold their ice ax in one hand and drag it by their side.

Instead, Carr says, "treat the ax like a canoe paddle." Put your right hand atop the pick, with your thumb under the adze. Your left hand goes about eight inches [20 centimeters] from the bottom of the shaft, which will be on your left side. That way, you'll be able to dig the spike in just behind your butt; the pick should be up by your chest.

"You can maintain a constant and controlled speed by applying pressure on the ax this way," he says, "along with your heels digging into the snow on the way down." Plus, if you need to self-arrest, all you have to do from this position is roll over to the right and use your body weight to dig the pick into the snow.

Next Tip: How to Slip a Bribe >>

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•  Introduction
How to
•  Avoid an Avalanche
•  Avoid Blisters
•  Beach a Kayak
•  Bike Up Steep Trails
•  Build a Fire When It's Wet
•  Climb Higher
•  Cross a River on Foot
•  Fight Altitude Sickness
•  Find Your Way
•  Fix Gear in the Field
•  Haggle for Anything
•  Hike Lighter
•  Keep Warm on Frigid Hikes
•  Leave (Absolutely) No Trace
•  Make Tastier Backcountry Grub
•  Melt Snow to Drink
•  Paddle With Power
•  Predict the Weather
•  Put on Your Skis
•  Run Off-Road
•  See More Fish When Diving
•  Ski Faster
•  Slide Down an Icy Slope
•  Slip a Bribe
•  Stick to the Rock
•  Swim Rapids
•  Swing a Machete
•  Take Better Photos
•  Telemark for Real
•  Wipe Out on a Bike
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January/February 2002:
In the Magazine | Excerpts | Adventurer's Handbook | Sierra Ski Photos | Grand Canyon | Deadly Conservationist | Forum | Snowboard Boots, Bindings | Travel Tools | Everglades Guide

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