Washington—Mt. Daniel—Salmon La Sac area—On Sept. 1, a Mountaineer Experience Climb party of four was traversing unroped on a rock and heather slope on the way to Mt. Daniel. The three most experienced climbers in the party crossed onto a moderately steep snow chute and found it very hard and icy. The snow was a year and one-half old. Since the last climber, Anne Postnikoff (27) was inexperienced in snow climbing she was warned not to try to cross it, but to descend straight down to easier terrain. The party leader glissaded down and waited for her. She started out on the icy snow, fell into an ice axe self-arrest, and started to slide downward. Her speed gradually increased because her ice axe was not being used properly. Postnikoff came to rest more than 200 feet away where the slope levelled out. She was lightly clad, so she suffered from skin abrasions on knuckles, elbows, stomach and knees. Being a nurse, the victim gave herself first aid. The bleeding was not very severe so she insisted that the climb continue with no concern for her. The party climbed Mt. Daniel, then Cathedral Rock and that night bivouacked on an interesting descent route on Cathedral.
Postnikoff’s snow abrasions became infected and she was unable to work for 4 weeks.
Source: V. Josendal (Telephone intereviews with Postnikoff, Bartow and Milnor).
Analysis: Injuries might have been avoided if this climber had (1) stayed off this snow gully since she lacked the ability to arrest herself in case of a slip, or (2) worn adequate protective clothing including mittens.