Why are mountain crevasses crossed on thin ladders tied together with rope by people with spikey shoes?


It seems like a recipe for disaster with obvious better ways to do it.

In: 0

Everything you carry into the mountains needs to be carried by a person. You don’t have pack animals nor trucks. It isn’t worth it to carry big and heavy stuff. So, you do the bare minimum that will work.

The ladders have to be thin and tied together because they have to roll up and fit in a pack for someone to carry up there. People have to cross them in spikey shoes because they need the shoes for climbing and aren’t going to pack a separate pair for crossing ladders.

Ladders because they need to be carried up glaciers on peoples backs, their strong and light and long. Spikey shoes (crampons) are used for walking on glaciers and theres not much point in removing them for a ladder crossing, you need them at the lips of a crevasse to stay stable on the ice and you can step on a ladder easily with them, there are no spikes in the middle section generally, so you aim the centre of your boot for each rung while crossing. Also with ropes on each side as handrails and if your tied in its pretty safe, Ice screws or snow anchors used to secure ropes can be very strong.

The things on their feet are called crampons and they allow you to walk without slipping even on steep icy terrain. For mountaineering they are an essential tool. It’s important to point out that the crevasses climbers cross are on glaciers that form high up in mountains. The giant slab of ice that’s clinging to the mountain is very slowly sliding down it. Therefore the terrain on top of it is an ever changing landscape of giant cracks in the ice that can be deadly. Finding a safe route across this ice does mean having to cross crevasses using equipment that can be carried and tied down and removed just as quickly.