American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Loss of Control—Voluntary Glissade, Faulty Use of Crampons

Washington, Mount Rainier, Muir Snowfield

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year: N/A
  • Publication Year: 2005

On October 3, shortly after 4:30 p.m., Chris Beoffoli (34) began his descent from Camp Muir. While descending near 7,800 feet on the Muir Snowfield, Beoffoli, according to a report from him, “...fell back and because it was steep, I started to pick up some speed. I didn’t have my ice ax within reach and, even though I should have known better, I instinctively put my heel down to stop myself and the metal teeth (of his crampons) stuck into the snow while my body kept moving.” This resulted in a severely fractured ankle

At 5:15 p.m. Mt. Rainier National Park received the 911 cell phone call requesting a rescue. Shordy after sunset, an eight person NPS ground evacuation team began their ascent to the accident site. They arrived on scene two hours later and assessed Beoffoli’s condition, packaged and lowered him back to Paradise in a litter. They arrived at the trailhead at 1:00 a.m. Beoffoli was released into the care of his partner who drove him a hospital for treatment. (Source: Mike Gauthier, SAR Ranger, Mount Rainier National Park and a report from Mr. Beoffoli.)

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