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Washington, Olympic Mountains (2)

Washington, Olympic Mountains (2)—On June 24, 1956 a party of eleven Mountaineers were descending the last steep slope of Mt. Constance. Greta Dahnke (40) attempted a glissade, fell, and failed to recover. Betty Parker attempted to arrest her fall but was unsuccessful. Dahnke picked up speed as the slope steepened. She tried an arrest with the pick of her axe, but the axe went out to arm’s length and the arrest was ineffectual. At the foot of the steeper snow there was a vast field of talus and scree through which she slid for about 200 feet. When Jack Grauer and Bill Oberteuffer, leader and assistant leader, reached her, they found her sitting up with blood streaming down her face from a couple of superficial scalp wounds. It was felt she had no apparent serious injury. She was able to walk out the remaining 3-4 miles.

Source: Jack Grauer and W. H. Oberteuffer.

Analysis: (Grauer and Oberteuffer). This accident emphasizes the need for practice and more practice by all climbers so that such things as a selfarrest are instinctive. Glissading is a technique which requires a special sense, just as does skiing; those of us who have the ability cannot appreciate the fear of a person who is trying to master glissading.