FALL ON SNOW, INEXPERIENCE
Alaska, Eklutna Glacier
On July 13, five climbers were injured, one critically, in a 60 meter fall on Eklutna Glacier. The climbers, part of an 18-member international expedition, tumbled down the glacier on Saturday afternoon and were stranded until early Sunday morning. They were airlifted to Providence Hospital.
One of the five, 24-year old Jackie Feaver of England, was comatose and listed in critical condition with serious head injuries Sunday night.
Ying Ju Loi of Malaysia and Nicky Kime of England, both 25, were in satisfactory condition at Providence. Two other climbers, Australian Helen Philips (26) and Gavin Burke (23) of England, were treated an released from the hospital Sunday.
The five climbers were roped together and traversing a snow slide when one lost footing and fell, dragging the others about 60 meters down the glacier.
Two other climbers, Iain Bemsten and Vincent Diamond, left the scene about two hours later and hiked about 24 km to a park service cabin at Eklutna Lake for help.
Wolgemuth said a state trooper helicopter and a hospital helicopter flew to the glacier about 0230 on Sunday; the helicopters arrived at Providence with the climbers about 0430. (Source: Anchorage Daily News, July 15,1990)
Mercer, a public relations specialist for Operation Raleigh, the London-based outfit that sponsored the expedition, said they were in good spirits. “They were just coming off the glacier,” Mercer said. “One slipped, and the others went with them.
“They all had the correct equipment, helmets and crampons and so on, and each group has a medic and a qualified instructor with them. All the basic precautions were taken.”
Mercer said Operation Raleigh is “a youth development program out of London” that takes young people between the ages of 17 and 25 on expeditions around the world. The program combines adventure and conservation work for its clients, who “pay their own way,” she said. (Source: Anchorage Daily News, July 15, 1990)