Loss of Control—Voluntary Glissade, Inadequate Equipment, Exceeding Abilities — Washington, Granite Mountain

Publication Year: 1985.


Washington, Granite Mountain

On May 18, 1984, Donald Archibald and Ronald Aronoff (37) had scaled Granite Mountain, leaving the trail head parking lot about 1130. On the descent, Aronoff was leading with Archibald following. Aronoff was dressed warmly, and was wearing a wet suit. He chose to slide on the snow, and slid ahead of Archibald. As he progressed, he gathered more speed, and eventually left Archibald’s view for a period of about five minutes. Archibald located Aronoff on the snow field, in the avalanche chute, near the treeline by an alderwood patch. Aronoff's legs were wrapped around a small tree, his head was downhill, and he appeared to have suffered a “two-inch deep gash from the upper lip to the forehead, and had cut his nose in half.” Aronoff's left eye was swollen shut, the right eye was dialated and fixed, and the victim was not conscious. There was some loss of blood. Archibald moved the victim’s head and body toward the top of the mountain to prevent further bleeding, and laid the victim on his side to keep the passage way clear for easier breathing. He then left the mountain for help.

Victim Aronoff was airlifted from the 1000 meter level by MAST and taken directly to Harborview Medical Center, where he was treated for a concussion and lacerations. The scene was secured about 2100 hours. (Source: Clinton Olson, King County Department of Public Safety)