A few weeks ago, I took a length of coiled decorative evergreen roping out of the back of my car, tossed it onto a small patch of lawn near the driveway, and forgot about it. A few days before Christmas, I was called upon to produce same. Unfortunately, it had snowed, the driveway had been plowed, and the roping was now under a small glacier-like feature—two or three feet of dirty, compressed, frozen snow, hard as a Republican’s heart. A shovel didn’t make a dent. So I had an unanticipated, and I must say unappreciated, chance to put my seldom-used ice axe (an old Chouinard 70 cm.) to work. A little avalanche rescue practice right here at home. Found the victim, too, and dug him out in perfect condition.

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