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

Fall on Ice, Unable to Self-Arrest, Oregon, North Sister, Thayer Glacier


Oregon, North Sister, Thayer Glacier

On August 14,1993, Erinn Broszman (22) slid 400 feet down the side of a steep Central Oregon glacier. She died of her injuries before Deschutes County Search and Rescue volunteers could reach her late Saturday afternoon.

Her hiking companion, John Stroud (22), also tumbled down Thayer Glacier on the east face of the North Sister, suffering minor rib and head injuries. He was treated at a Bend hospital and released.

Both Broszman and Stroud were employees of the Pacific Crest Outward Bound School in Redmond but were not on an official school outing.

“They were on a day off and were just out hiking,” said Mike Seeley, associate program director at the school. “John is doing pretty well today, considering. He’s going to be all right.”

Broszman, who worked in the schools warehouse in logistics support, earned a bachelors degree in sociology this year from Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. She was working at the Outward Bound school for her second straight summer. She went hiking Saturday in the Three Sisters Wilderness with Stroud, an outdoor instructor, as a birthday celebration.

Stroud, whose hometown was not available, also was working his second year at the school. After hiking Satruday morning up the Southeast Ridge Trail, rated as an easy-to- moderte walk, Broszman and Stroud decided to hike to the glacier at an elevation of about 9,000 feet.

Search-and-rescue officials said Broszman and Stroud both were carrying ice axes but had not put their hands through the straps. They also were carrying helmets, although Stroud apparently was not wearing his during the fall. They also did not wear crampons.

“It was supposed to be just a day hike,” said Sgt. Terry Silbaugh, who heads the Deschutes County Search and Rescue. “I guess she wanted to glissade down the glacier. So he set out to test the ice, with her just above him. Then she slipped and fell and went sliding past him, out of control.”

Silbaugh said Broszman immediately lost her ice axe, but Stroud grabbed her when she slid by. With one arm around Broszman, Stroud tried to perform a self-arrest.

“But he couldn’t do it with just one hand, and they became separated,” Silbaugh said.

Len Swanzy, coordinator for search-and-rescue volunteers, described the glaciers steep, slippery surface as “a 45-degree ice skating rink.”

Both Broszman and Stroud tumbled and skidded down the ice, but Stroud was luckier. He landed in a snow bank at the foot of the glacier while Broszman slammed into a rocky outcropping.

After regaining consciousness, Stroud moved Broszman off the ice and began hiking down the mountain for help. While on the trail, he met two members of the Mazamas climbing club, who had a radio with them. Together they were able to contact a young boy in Bend, who in turn called the sheriff's office shortly before 1400.

A total of 18 volunteers then began a frantic assault on the North Sister. By 1515, the first parties reached the trail head and began a four and a half hour hike to Thayer Glacier. They met Stroud on the trial.

Stroud was given oxygen and was rushed by Sisters Ambulance Co. to St. Charles Medical Center in Bend.

Finally, around 1715, search teams found Broszman. But by then, she was dead. It took teams an additional 12 hours to bring her body out to the trailhead. (Source: From an article by Rick Bella in The Oregonian, August 16, 1993).