Ice inspires slick survival techniques

February 11, 1994|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writers Larry Carson, James M. Coram, Karol Menzie, Lan Nguyen and Fred Rasmussen contributed to this article.

Don't let anybody tell you Marylanders can't cope with the ice.

Take Dana Hanna, chairman of the Howard County school board. When he set foot on his icy front step and fell, did he whine?

Heck no. He sat for a minute and remembered his old spiked golf shoes in the garage.

"They are like ice magnets," he said. "I can stand up and walk and jog. It's actually been a novelty that has been paying great dividends through these last five storms."

On Wednesday Jayne Tyler, a housekeeper for a Mount Washington family, found herself at quitting time standing at the top of a steep, icy driveway. Her boss -- and her ride home -- waited at the bottom.

Was she frozen there by indecision?

"I said, 'To hell with it; I'm coming down the best way I can.' I sat down and slid on my butt," said Ms. Tyler, 40.

After seven weeks of snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, salt, no salt, slush, cinders and more on the way, Marylanders seem to have hit their stride.

Golf spikes like Mr. Hanna's are turning up all over. And people have been grabbing the region's supply of ice crampons, strap-on ice grippers meant for mountain climbers.

"This morning we've had over 40 calls for them," Kathy Richmond, assistant manager at Eastern Mountain Sports, said yesterday.

People will do almost anything for traction these days.

Many Baltimore pedestrians will face down automobile traffic in the streets before they'll brave the ice-clad sidewalks. Others are venturing out with mop handles, pool cues or ski poles in hand. They'll put socks over their shoes or bathroom rugs under their feet to keep themselves vertical, or sit down and slide on plastic bags. Some people simply swallow their pride and crawl.

Ice chipping has become nearly unavoidable, especially if you want to attract a mail carrier.

One desperate Oakleigh homeowner put on his old hockey skates and stomped patterns of V's and X's up and down the walk. He found a shovel lifted the ice slabs nicely.

John Mardall and his iced-in neighbors on Blackberry Lane, a Glenelg community of long driveways, quit trying to park close to their homes. Instead, Mr. Mardall scavenged every rope he could from his boat to create 1,500 feet of handholds for the neighborhood.

Pulling yourself up a 600-foot driveway still isn't easy. It took Mr. Mardall and his wife, Margaret, 35 minutes to get from their car to the house Wednesday.

Sometimes, muscle and goodwill are enough. Toni Torsch, 34, of Baltimore and her van full of children got stuck in the icy parking lot at the Sizzler Restaurant in Towson.

As she struggled, help arrived from the kitchen. "The cook came out, the busboys came out, a waitress was even pushing," she said.

"There were about seven of Other times, nothing seems to work.

Jena Jacobs, 25, of Carney decided to warm up her Jeep Cherokee Wednesday morning and wound up under it.

"I couldn't walk down the sidewalk or hill from my house, so I decided to slide down on my buttocks. Once I got going I couldn't stop, and the next thing I knew I was under my Jeep looking up my exhaust pipe."

Kurt Lauderback, 55, lives in Parkville and works at the Towson courthouse, where he is Baltimore County's chief of revenue collection. He had heard about the virtues of golf shoes during the January ice storms and wore them Wednesday.

"I could get around pretty good on the ice," he said. "The only problem I had was when I got into the courthouse the spikes hit the marble floor and my feet went out from under me." He was unhurt.

Kate Hammond, 7, of Crofton could have used some spikes the && other day when she was sledding on the icy golf course behind her house.

Her father, Steve Hammond, 42, watched from the summit while Kate struggled for 15 minutes to get back up the hill after her first run, only to slip and fall near the top. Her sled skidded riderless back to the bottom.

"Daddy," she told her father wearily, "if I'm not back in 10 minutes, call 911."

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