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  • Wow, wonderful photo skip. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on the spelling.

    August 16, 2008

  • Ouch. They all sound painful.

    March 11, 2008

  • Hi skipvia. Yes, I'd pounced on it immediately as a monovocalic, but then couldn't confirm it with a Google Book search.

    I found "Névé penetente A tower of ice that resembles a person praying" (Frederic Hartemann and Robert Hauptman, 2005, The Mountain Encyclopedia, 2005, p. 156) and "From there they decided against crossing to the left glacier that descends the face because of its 'forest' of penetentes... (American Alpine Journal, 1929, p. 406). But those two seemed misspelled against more than 500 instances of penitente: "neve penitente", 19; "neve penitentes", 6; "nieve penitente", 491; and "nieve penitentes", 52.

    Your sightings of penetente suggest that spelling capture might be occurring, with penitente influenced by penetrate (which is what those spires could do if one fell on them) and starting to shift to penetente.

    March 11, 2008

  • It depends on where you look, mollusque. The "e" version is from Spanish but it's the version many climbing books use. I thought it might make a nice monovocalic...

    March 11, 2008

  • I think it's supposed to be penitentes.

    March 11, 2008

  • And God help you if you trip, I'd imagine.

    March 11, 2008

  • You avoid them when you can, and walk very carefully when you can't.

    March 10, 2008

  • Wow. Looks as though it can be painful navigating.

    March 10, 2008

  • Sharp ice peaks formed when sunlight reflects off of small depressions in the snow cover, melting the snow unevenly and forming tall peaks. Typically found when traveling on a glacier. When these refreeze at night, they can become quite hard and sharp, making travel difficult. Climbers usually call them neve penetentes. Nice image here.

    March 9, 2008