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

Fall on Snow, Unable to Self-Affest, Fall into Moat, Washington, Olympic Mountains

FALL ON SNOW, UNABLE TO SELF-ARREST, FALL INTO MOAT

Washington, Olympic Mountains

On July 10, 1988, after descending about 30 meters from the summit of The Brother, I stepped into a footstep made by my sons who were descending immediately ahead of me. The snow collapsed under my foot, causing me to lose my balance. My ice ax would not stop me due to mushy snow conditions. I slid across a snowfield, rolled across some rocks, and stopped when I fell into a moat.

After a tricky rescue by the Olympic Mountain Rescue Team, and others (totaling about 300 person hours), Lynnae Mountford (48) was helicopter evacuated, after being belay/hoisted 200 meters to the summit, at 2300. (Sources: Lynnae Mountford, and Bergtrage, September 1988)

Analysis

July is a hazardous month in The Brothers because of snow conditions. The descent is very steep at the summit; even when conditions are at their best, it’s risky. (Source: Lynnae Mountford)