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Fall on Snow, Inadequate Equipment, Colorado, McHenry's Peak

FALL ON SNOW, INADEQUATE EQUIPMENT

Colorado, McHenry’s Peak

Tom Hillmer (19) and brother Tim Hillmer had climbed the Stone Man Pass route for the summit of McHenry’s Peak on August 21. As they were traversing a snowfield, Tom slipped on the snow and slid to the bottom of the snowfield. He sustained fractures to both arms and splintered the patella of one leg. Tim made Tom comfortable, then descended from the peak for help. At Black Lake, Tim met Charles Rense and Bill Carvella. Carvella hiked out to Bear Lake to report the incident while Rense and Tim returned to the location of Tom to await rescue personnel. (Source: Larry Van Slyke, Rocky Mountain National Park)

Analysis

It is not known if Hillmer had an ice axe in his hands at the time of his fall. During the late summer months, many of the high altitude snowfields become “ice” hard. Travel on those snowfields dictates the judicious use of axe, and crampons at times, to protect against unwanted, high speed rides down the snow slopes. (Source: Larry Van Slyke, Rocky Mountain National Park)