American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Frostbite, Inadequate Equipment – Alaska, Brooks Range

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1978

FROSTBITE, INADEQUATE EQUIPMENT—Alaska, Brooks Range. During the ski traverse of the Brooks Range by the Antioch College “Challenge/ Discovery” group in the early spring of 1977, four members of the team experienced frostbite and evacuation was necessary. Galibier double touring boots and super-gaitors were being used in the - 40° F temperatures, but these proved to be inadequate for the individuals involved. (Source: Roy Smith, Antioch College.)

Analysis: On a similar expedition a few years previous to this one, the writer and his companions used the same type of boot, but wore full over boots, the bottom four inches being constructed of two layers of thick, water proof nylon. Conditions in the Brooks Range from March through May vary from extreme Arctic to several inches of overflow water on the rivers. When both combine, the potential for difficulty rises. (Source: J. Williamson.)

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