AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Fall on Snow, Inadequate Equipment, Colorado, Pikes Peak


Colorado, Pikes Peak

On June 19, 1982, Oliver King (23) and I (21) began ascending the East Face of Pikes Peak around 1030. King was following me down a steep snowfield because he did not have an ice ax with him at the time. About the 4150-meter level, he slipped and began what amounted to a 100-meter fall down the snowfield in question. The temperature had been hovering around 0°C., and the snow was ice-hard as a result. King had a difficult time self-arresting on the hard snow. He had begun sliding on his back and then started cartwheeling over large rocks protruding through the snow. A few times he was actually airborne as he slid over some of the larger rocks. Later King said that he had protected his head during the fall. He sustained only minor scrapes and bruises and a slightly injured right leg. King was able to walk out under his own power. (Source: Clayton Jackson)


Had King had an ice ax, his fall probably would not have occurred. The snowfields on the East Face of Pikes Peak can be treacherous. (Source: Clayton Jackson)