American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Snow, Loss of Control—Voluntary Glissade, Inexperience, Colorado, Rocky Mountain Naitonal Park, Mount Ypsilon

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001


Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Ypsilon

On August 26, Larisa J. Watson (23) and three partners partially ascended the Blitzen Ridge route on Mount Ypsilon when they noticed incoming foul weather and decided to retreat. While glissading the Spectacle Lake Snowfield, Watson lost control and slid 150 feet, impacting on rocks at the bottom of the snowfield. She sustained head and facial injuries, resulting in a two-day rescue effort. Analysis

Watson was not as experienced as the other team members, and was not familiar with glissading. The team leader glissaded first, but was without an ax. He attempted to stop Watson but aborted when he also began to lose control. The other team members wisely descended by cutting steps. (Source: Jim Detterline and Mark Magnuson, NPS Rangers, RMNP)

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