American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Snow Blindness—Failed to Wear Eye Protection, Alaska, Denali National Park, Mount McKinley, West Buttress

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 2008

SNOW BLINDNESS–FAILED TO WEAR EYE PROTECTION

Alaska, Denali National Park, Mount McKinley, West Buttress

On June 2, Oure Dalbinco (33) was led by his partner to the medical tent at 14,200 feet. Dalbinco was completely blind in both eyes due to snow blindness. This took longer than normal to heal and due to the severity of the injury, it was deemed safer to fly him off rather than risk him traveling down the glacier. However, due to the prolonged period of unflyable weather, he eventually recovered enough to get down safely with his partner.

Analysis

Even on overcast days, ultra violet rays are strong enough to cause damage to the eyes. It is imperative to wear eye protection in this environment, even when it is overcast. (Source: Edited from a report by John D. Evans, Ranger)

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