American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Hard Snow — Crampons Iced Up, Unable to Self-Arrest, Oregon, Mount Hood, Palmer Glacier

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 1998

FALL ON HARD SNOW—CRAMPONS ICED UP, UNABLE TO SELFARREST

Oregon, Mount Hood, Palmer Glacier

On June 11, Andy March (32) was descending from the summit of Mount Hood about noon when his crampons became “iced up,” and he was unable to clear them by tapping them with his ice ax. He slipped and fell 300 feet before he was able to stop his fall.

His partner summoned help at Timberline Lodge, and a rescue team proceeded to help March down the mountain. They returned to the lodge by 7:30 p.m. March was transported to Mount Hood Medical Center for an evaluation of his chief complaint— lower back pain. (Source: Clackamas County Sheriff's Office)

(Editor’s Note: The term “iced up” most likely means consolidated snow that did not dislodge using the usual method of tapping—or giving a good whack—with one’s ice ax. Experienced climbers like these fellows would not use an anchored belay in this kind of situation, but those with moderate or less experience should.)

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