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

Loss of Control—Voluntary Glissade, Inadequate Instruction and Supervision, Poor Position, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Andrews Glacier

LOSS OF CONTROL—VOLUNTARY GLISSADE, INADEQUATE INSTRUCTION AND SUPERVISION, POOR POSITION

Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Andrews Glacier

On June 14 at 1300, Mike Hill was leading a group of 25 to 30 juveniles from River Valley High School, Spring Green, Wisconsin, in a glissading class on Andrews Glacier. A 17 year old female failed to maintain control, and broke her right fibula while glissading. Hill, a former EMT, initiated a self-rescue with an improvised litter. (Source: Rocky Mountain National Park Rangers)

Analysis

During an interview with Hill, Park Service investigators found out that the group had not been properly briefed before attempting actual glissade practice. The group was also insufficiently supervised, as there were too many students per instructor. The runouts at the base of Andrews Glacier are somewhat dangerous, ending in a deep, cold alpine lake on one part and in talus on another part. This kind of exercise requires (1) doing more prebriefing, (2) having more instructors per student, and (3) using a different, safer location. (Source: Rocky Mountain National Park Rangers)