American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Snow, No Hard Hat, California, Mount Shasta, Avalanche Gulch

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2008

FALL ON SNOW, NO HARD HAT

California, Mount Shasta, Avalanche Gulch

On January 28, a man (44) and his son were attempting to climb the Avalanche Gulch route on Mount Shasta. They were unsuccessful and began descending. Around 1300, the father fell on snow about the 11,500-foot level, sliding 700 feet. A witness to the fall said the climber zipped by him by him at over 30 mph. They descended to him and assessed his injuries. These included a head laceration, broken ribs, and a broken finger. The assisting party helped lower him to Helen Lake (10,400 feet) and awaited assistance from Siskiyou County SAR.

The California Highway Patrol helicopter responded and evacuated the victim at 1700, transporting him to Mercy Medical Center.

Analysis

Below normal snowfall, high winds, and high pressure had left a smooth and hard snow surface. (Source: Eric White, Climbing Ranger/Avalanche Specialist)

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