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Fall on Snow, Inadequate Equipment, Climbing Alone, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Alice

FALL ON SNOW, INADEQUATE EQUIPMENT, CLIMBING ALONE

Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Alice

On August 29, David Ingersoll (40) left the Wild Basin Trailhead alone to check out possible routes on the East face of Mount Alice. Ingersoll scrambled part way up the Central Ramp Route (III 5.7, A2), but decided to descend after it began to rain. He scrambled down to a snowfield just left of the center of the East face, and began descending the snowfield. At 1415 while descending, Ingersoll lost his footing when he reached an icy area of the mostly soft snowfield. He was wearing tennis shoes and did not have an ice ax. Unable to self-arrest, he slid 150 feet at a high rate of speed and impacted on rocks, fracturing his pelvis in four places.

Ingersoll’s friend Kelly Price called RMNP dispatch on August 30 at 0830 to report that Ingersoll was overdue somewhere in the park, but that she did not know what his plans were. A general trailhead check of the park found Ingersoll’s vehicle at 0930, and Ingersoll was found at 1755.

Analysis

Investigating Ranger Karl Pearson pointed to three factors that contributed to Ingersoll’s accident and the resulting SAR efforts. He was alone, he failed to tell anyone where he was going, which complicated efforts to find him, and he descended a snowfield without crampons and ice ax. In the investigator’s opinion, the above mistakes could have cost Ingersoll his life. When Ingersoll was discovered by RMNP Ranger/searcher Gregg Tinkham, he was in the initial stages of hypothermia. Ingersoll said that he didn’t think he would have survived another night out. It was therefore fortunate that Tinkham found him before dark and was able to have a helicopter fly him out immediately to advanced medical care at a hospital. (Source: Jim Detterline, Longs Peak Supervisory Climbing Ranger)