Climbing tricks.

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Climbing tricks.

Postby infidel on 19 Dec 2012, 22:24

Who knows some good tricks to climb when the snow is working against you? We've been getting dumped on at Meadows, and I'm having a hell of a time :shock:

Here are the ones I know so far.

1- Up pressure. (Works, but makes groom kinda crappy)

2- Bump the blade up and down to set the grousers deeper in snow. Also curl blade forward to move more weight to the front of the cat.

3- Try to not have one track moving any faster than the other to keep things planted.

4- Bounce up and down in seat whilst shouting obscenities and cursing whatever diety you see fit. (my personal favorite)

I'd love to hear what works for you guys!

Thanks,
Jesse.
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Re: Climbing tricks.

Postby cbender on 20 Dec 2012, 21:06

Another idea is to find an less steep adjacent trail and use that as your climber. Unfortunately, that means all down passes on the steeper trail. Another method is using skip passes. To do this, make two down passes and leave about 4 feet ungroomed between them. Then you use the thin pass as your climber. You can also resort to climbing without your tiller and make your finish passes down.
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Re: Climbing tricks.

Postby infidel on 22 Dec 2012, 13:36

Thanks, Curt!
I like the skip-pass idea! We did a little of that last night. Worked good.

I've also tried climbing a few pitches with the tiller in lateral float. That seems to help the cat move around and not let the tiller work against it. (As long as it's not a sidehill) I just usually forget to re-center it :)

Keep those ideas coming!
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Re: Climbing tricks.

Postby curtisheinz57 on 26 May 2014, 12:27

When I am operating with a yoke I do a little bop on one side and walk the tracks right up but when I operate with sticks I like to do a little blade bounce. It's also important to know that when it's raining to avoid climbing the same pass. It rains a ton at Alpental.
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Re: Climbing tricks.

Postby tahoebum on 27 Jul 2014, 08:25

infidel wrote: 1- Up pressure. (Works, but makes groom kinda crappy)

2- Bump the blade up and down to set the grousers deeper in snow. Also curl blade forward to move more weight to the front of the cat.

3- Try to not have one track moving any faster than the other to keep things planted.

4- Bounce up and down in seat whilst shouting obscenities and cursing whatever diety you see fit. (my personal favorite)


1. Up pressure? May as well just pick up your tiller
2. The blade doesn't weight any more the more curl you give it. Bumping the blade may work, but I have a better solution (later)
3. Finally, a real answer. Yes, don't spin the tracks
4. My personal favorite as well

As for my recommendations,
[These are only recommendations, not to be successful in every situation or useful on every mountain, only tricks that I have learned from asking questions, listening, watching and trying. Use whatever works for you. And when all else fails, call patrol in the morning to side slip it for you. They like to feel important.]

Your snow cat is a three part system, blade, tracks, tiller, when used correctly and with some finesse, you should be able to climb most areas

1. Use your blade. Put your blade in the snow. Pack the snow in front of your cat, so that when your tracks are climbing, they are climbing on a firmer surface. No need to carry a huge blade of snow uphill, just enough to compact whats in front

2. Don't spin the tracks!! Slow down. You are not a paddle boat on the Mississippi! The tracks are meant for you float on top of the snow, hence all the surface area. Spinning the tracks only throws more loose snow into the tiller, causing a build up between the track and tiller. (not good if you are driving with the tiller down)

3. Finally we get to the tiller,

A. As mentioned in an earlier post, Lateral float or tiller trail (as I call it) will keep you from fighting the tiller on your up passes. When used with the last recommendation it will immensely help with your climbing

B. Wait for it...... Down pressure! I know, I know, "but you must be an idiot to think that climbing in down pressure will help you climb." Just wait, give me a second to explain. Yes, down pressure does push the tiller further into the snow, but if you have used the the earlier techniques, it will be a firm surface. Now here is the kicker, down pressure will push the front of your cat down, moving the center of gravity forward, allowing your front grousers to dig deeper and get better traction. Up pressure moves the center of gravity towards the rear, turning you into a boat, with the bow up in the air and the forward tracks only grabbing air.


Hope this helped,
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Re: Climbing tricks.

Postby admin on 27 Jul 2014, 22:06

Welcome to the board, tahoebum, and thanks for keeping some conversation alive over the summer! :D

tahoebum wrote:
1. Up pressure? May as well just pick up your tiller


I think up pressure can be effective, but you have to anticipate the difficulty. If you're already digging in, it's too late. But if you know the snow is soft and you're approaching a steep grade, a little preemptive up pressure can be just the ticket to avoiding the problem in the first place.

2. The blade doesn't weight any more the more curl you give it. Bumping the blade may work, but I have a better solution (later)


I agree that curl shouldn't make much of a difference (it would be a very minor weight shift), but bouncing the blade certainly rocks your CG enough to "get a bite" under certain circumstances.

3. Finally, a real answer. Yes, don't spin the tracks
4. My personal favorite as well

As for my recommendations,
[These are only recommendations, not to be successful in every situation or useful on every mountain, only tricks that I have learned from asking questions, listening, watching and trying. Use whatever works for you. And when all else fails, call patrol in the morning to side slip it for you. They like to feel important.]

Your snow cat is a three part system, blade, tracks, tiller, when used correctly and with some finesse, you should be able to climb most areas

1. Use your blade. Put your blade in the snow. Pack the snow in front of your cat, so that when your tracks are climbing, they are climbing on a firmer surface. No need to carry a huge blade of snow uphill, just enough to compact whats in front


Maybe if there's not too much fresh, but how does this work in, let's say, 18" of fresh snow? All you're doing is adding load. Any compaction your blade provides will be too fresh and soft to really add traction. Not saying this wouldn't work, but seems limited in its application.

2. Don't spin the tracks!! Slow down. You are not a paddle boat on the Mississippi! The tracks are meant for you float on top of the snow, hence all the surface area. Spinning the tracks only throws more loose snow into the tiller, causing a build up between the track and tiller. (not good if you are driving with the tiller down)


Absolutely! QFT.

3. Finally we get to the tiller,

A. As mentioned in an earlier post, Lateral float or tiller trail (as I call it) will keep you from fighting the tiller on your up passes. When used with the last recommendation it will immensely help with your climbing


Lateral float can work wonders when climbing, no doubt.

B. Wait for it...... Down pressure! I know, I know, "but you must be an idiot to think that climbing in down pressure will help you climb." Just wait, give me a second to explain. Yes, down pressure does push the tiller further into the snow, but if you have used the the earlier techniques, it will be a firm surface. Now here is the kicker, down pressure will push the front of your cat down, moving the center of gravity forward, allowing your front grousers to dig deeper and get better traction. Up pressure moves the center of gravity towards the rear, turning you into a boat, with the bow up in the air and the forward tracks only grabbing air.


Fascinating thought. I would never have considered down pressure in a climb to gain traction. But I have to wonder, again, if this would be effective in deep fresh snow, or in a super soft snowpack? If there's a solid base to push against with down pressure, it would definitely do what you've suggested. But if the snowpack is that firm, you probably wouldn't be having trouble climbing. Dunno? Will have to play with this one sometime to see what happens.

Hope this helped,
Don't get discouraged by failure, you've just discovered another way to not do things!


This is by far the best advice yet! Learning from experience is always the most effective!

Cheers.
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Re: Climbing tricks.

Postby snowizard1 on 28 Jul 2014, 11:19

Track pack snow amounts over 18" or more. Used to use track pack rolls. Any large snow amounts you just groom beginners areas and novice routes I hope.
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Re: Climbing tricks.

Postby admin on 28 Jul 2014, 16:34

snowizard1 wrote:Track pack snow amounts over 18" or more. Used to use track pack rolls. Any large snow amounts you just groom beginners areas and novice routes I hope.


When your primary clientele is beginner and lower intermediate, as is ours, grooming is essential (though sometimes heartbreaking). Plus, the majority of our terrain is pretty mellow, so more than a foot and it's hardly skiable. Couple those facts with a small fleet and no winch cat, we've gotta make every pass count regardless. That's when all kinds of tricks for climbing are necessary, because we can't afford not to cover the acreage. We'd have to quadruple our ski patrol just to rescue the poor skiers from the scary powder! Of course, we still leave plenty of untouched pow, but my point is we can't just groom the beginner areas and novice thoroughfares... we have to cover some definite intermediate acreage as well.

Unfortunately, that means when we have a really substantial storm (18" or more), we have to do a lot of what Curt suggested, and use passable uphill routes, then hit the fresh and steeper terrain downhill for a couple nights. Less than 18" and some combination of climbing tricks will usually keep you travelling right along.
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Re: Climbing tricks.

Postby PB400Fan on 07 Oct 2014, 16:19

One thing I try to do on trails that are wide/narrow/wide/narrow/wide, etc is choke down some of the bellies first either by doing a few backups or taking less than a full pass in the narrow parts and a full pass in the wide parts until the bellies are trimmed down a bit, then it's just straight up and down passes until the trails finished. This keeps the machine in more of a straight line and allows for more snow pushing and better climbing. Also at the end of the night when you look back at the corduroy, it looks a lot better because the lines are a lot straighter


Up pressure, yes and no. If the snows right, the pass comes out good but if it starts to come out bad, i either turn it down a bit or bump it off completely



Sometimes on some of the steeper pitches, i'll pick the tiller up and flatten and get the snow where I want it on them first, go work on something else for a little while until they set up a bit and then come back a little later after they've set up a bit.


Track packing.... I've never heard of that one, is that more of a west coast thing?
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Re: Climbing tricks.

Postby ward-o on 04 Jan 2015, 19:54

Washington areas are known for our deep, wet, snowfalls so here's another one you can try if time allows you to.
most of the time, Not Grooming, isn't what we do. but, sometimes ya just gotta give it some time to sit.
try doing a few quick, sloppy, passes up the steepest sections "track-packing" with the tiller up
(if possible). then skip pass your way back down & don't worry if its pretty or not just yet. then just let it sit for 20 minutes or so; go groom somewhere else less problematic and give that area a chance to "set up".
not only will it remove some of the air but,a small amount of heat is introduced into the snow just by the kinetic energy of running it down & blading it out. so after it has a few min's to freeze back together and become more dense you'll be surprised how well it will improve climbing and maybe even faster if you aren't just wallowing around in the deep stuff all night. another option if safe conditions permit ,is letting your customers "ski/board pack" it for a day and hitting it tomorrow night. what a difference a day makes 8-)
cheers
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