Jive-Ass Snow Picket

Jive-Ass Snow Picket

Jive-Ass Snow Picket

Check out this Jive-Ass, Old-Skool, homemade snow picket we found on the Eliot Glacier on the north side of Mt. Hood this weekend. It’s a beauty! We were on the glacier practicing high angle rescue techniques and this thing was just laying on the ice on one of the lower ice shelves near the start of the terminal morane.

Like most glaciers, the Eliot is retreating and melting at a rather disturbing rate. My hunch is that this Jive-Ass homemade picket was frozen up there in the glacier for a fairly decent amount of time, until it finally it melted free of its icy grave, sort of like Ötzi the Iceman, the 5,300 year old man who popped out of the Italian Alps in 1991. 

 Ötzi the Iceman (photo: Wikicommons)

Ötzi the Iceman (photo: Wikicommons)

I’m not saying this picket was buried in the ice for anything approaching that amount of time, mind you. I’m thinking maybe a decade or two. This highly speculative hypothesis is supported in some small measure by the 1970s era Chouinard Carabiner attached to it. That thing is an antique. Yvon Chouinard hasn’t sold carabiners since Chouinard Equipment Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1989, due to several product liability lawsuites, and several former employees bought the inventory and founded Black Diamond Equipment

As to the picket itself? It appears to be a rather thin aluminum tube with a hole drilled in the end. Through that hole there is a piece of steel cable formed into a loop with a metal cable crimp. Notice also that the tube is sort of bent. I hope that didn’t happen while someone was hanging from it. 

Location: Eliot Glacier, Mt. Hood, Oregon, USA



4 thoughts on “Jive-Ass Snow Picket

  1. Jen S.

    Thats not Jive Ass, more like Bad Ass for the time (!)– What a fantastic piece of history. Love your page and the laughter and cringing that go with it, keep up the great work.

  2. Scott Hukari

    I can add some speculation as to the origin of that “Jive-Ass Snow Picket”. I belong to the search & rescue group for Hood River County that covers that section of Mt Hood. On of our members, Dick Pooley, assisted Yvon Chouinard when he held ice climbing schools on Eliot Glacier. Dick was very ingenious and was of the generation that didn’t waste anything. Dick’s family had/has an orchard in the Hood River Valley as do many others in the SAR group. Orchard ladders made of aluminum have a hollow tube used as a third leg or tongue. That looks like a piece of a ladder tongue with a piece of heavy duty metal cable. Chouinard gave our group a bunch of his carribiners too. I seem to remember seeing such “Jive-Ass Snow Pickets” used in a picket fence fashion in multiple anchor points in a load equalizing set up. They worked fine as long as you weren’t trying to put them into ice and watched to make sure that they didn’t loosen due to heat transfer if it was sunny.

    Nice site! Good pictures of BAD anchors.

  3. Ranger

    I have seen those before and have used them as well. They are great in consolidated to hard snow. I have never seen one bent like that, it must have been buried in a crevice.


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