American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Snow—Unable to Self-Arrest, Party Separated, Climbing Unroped, No Hard Hat, Oregon, Mount Hood, Southside

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

FALL ON SNOW-UNABLE TO SELF-ARREST, PARTY SEPARATED, CLIMBING UNROPED, NO HARD HAT

Oregon, Mount Hood, Southside

On September 7, while ascending the standard Southside route, one climber (36) of a party of two lost his footing at about 11,000-foot elevation and fell about 100 feet. He was unroped, unable to self-arrest, and fell onto the lower lip of the bergschrund. He suffered abrasions, puncture wounds, and a twisted ankle. His partner was able to report the accident via cellphone, but was unable to down-climb to assist his injured partner. Both climbers were treated and escorted down to an awaiting snowcat by a PMR/AMR rescue team.

Analysis

Late season climbs are usually more difficult technically, as the snow turns into ice and rockfall hazards become excessive. Under technical conditions the protection of a roped belay is recommended. To allow self-rescue, partners should stay in close contact with each other.

The use of a helmet may have prevented serious injuries. (Source: Jeff Sheetz, Portland Mountain Rescue)

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