The mechanical interaction between a glacier and subglacial sediment can be observed using an instrumented rod that we refer to as the UBC ploughmeter. For clast-rich sediments, the rate of collision between clasts and a rod dragged through these sediments should be related to the glacier sliding rate. By assuming that proglacial measurements of sediment granulometry represent the subglacial granulometry of Trapridge Glacier, Yukon Territory, Canada, we have used ploughmeter results to obtain an estimated sliding rate of ∼45 mm d−1, in good agreement with known rates. In addition, for a subglacial material treated as a solid-liquid dispersion having a linear viscous rheology, the force of collision experienced by the rod should be proportional to the effective sediment viscosity. Our estimate of ∼2.0 × 1010 Pa s agrees well with previously, derived values.