Outdoor sports terminology: Self-arrest



Technique used to stop sliding down on moderate snowy slopes generally with the help of an ice ax. It is important to perform the maneuver rapidly to avoid gaining speed, as the faster you slide down the less chances of success you have. First, you need to reorient your body position to bring yourself to the self-arrest position, which is facing down, with your feet pointing downhill and off the surface, specially when wearing crampons (you can use your knees as a brake). You should grab the head of the ax with one hand and the other one should be down the shaft (covering the spike). Keep the ice ax diagonal beneath your chest and push weight onto your chest, ax and shoulder to force the peak into the snow.

Additional info

Grammatical category: n.; v.
Field: mountain sports, alpinism
Source of the definition: Explore Translations

The word in use: Examples

“A basic ice axe is designed to be used as a balance and safety tool when walking up or descending steep slopes, as a self-arrest tool for stopping an expected fall and down slope slide, a brake when glissading (sliding downhill on your butt), and as a retrievable snow anchor when you need to rappel down a pitch but don’t have a good natural feature to tie onto.”
Source of the example: Section Hiker

“The ice axe has a very special place with me as it saved my life with a do or fly self arrest during an early season climb of Brewer in 1979.”
“My climbing partner had no ice axe experience, so I trained him a bit above East Lake en route to the peak (it was solid snow almost down to East Lake). I’m right handed so I prefer to self arrest rolling onto my right side. It was my right hip that was damaged and I can say that I was glad that my friend was a quick learner because each “demonstration” fall was excruciating.” 
Source of the examplesHigh Sierra Topix

Other languages (ES)

Spanish: autodetención. See definition


Check this video to see the self-arrest techniques

Do you know this word in other languages?
Please, leave a comment!

Source of the image: Fernando Lainez


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