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Fall on Ice, Inadequate Protection, Oregon, Mount Hood, Sandy Glacier

FALL ON ICE, INADEQUATE PROTECTION

Oregon, Mount Hood, Sandy Glacier

On November 4, Kenny Dale Kasselder and Shaun Olcott (both 37) had crossed the Sandy Glacier, roped, and were beginning to ascend the headwall. One of them slipped and pulled the other off, as they had not placed any protection. They fell about 100 feet, landing in a crevasse. Olcott suffered a broken arm while Kasselder had injured his back. He lapsed into unconsciousness and died. Olcott was carrying a cell phone and was able to place a distress call to 911.

Analysis

They were simply low on the headwall when the accident occurred and had not yet placed any anchors, yet the fall was still sufficient to sustain significant injuries. After the rescue, Olcott reported that his helmet was shattered.

Readers will recall the most dramatic example of the risks of non-anchored rope travel on Mount Hood. On May 30, 2002, one climber slipped at the Pearly Gates on the South Side. He started a “domino” effect, sweeping the rest of his rope team and three other teams down the mountain. Nine total climbers landed into the bergschrund. Three climbers were killed, and four were seriously injured. (Steve Rollins, Portland Mountain Rescue)

(Editor’s Note: On March 13, Beau Clark (30) died from a heart attack while climbing with friends on Broughton's Bluff. He had made it to a ledge. His friends said they heard a weird noise, and when they looked down., he was hanging about 30 feet above the ground. This is not considered to be a climbing accident, but worthy of mention.)