American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Snow — Loss of Control on Voluntary Glissade, New Hampshire, Mount Washington, Lion's Head Winter Route

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2009

FALL ON SNOW – LOSS OF CONTROL ON VOLUNTARY GLISSADE

New Hampshire, Mount Washington, Lion's Head Winter route

On March 3, a group of mountaineers (ages unknown) were glissading Lion’s Head Winter Route when one of them lost control and fell down approximately 75-100 feet through the trees to the bottom of the steep section of trail. Along the way, he hit some trees and came to a stop against a large stump.

USFS Snow Rangers were notified of the incident by a hiker who had been sent to Hermit Lake to get help. Although below the steepest section of trail, the patient was found in terrain sufficiently steep to warrant belaying the litter downhill until the flat section of trail. From here he was sledded to the junction of the Winter Route and the Huntington Ravine Winter Access Trail, then transported via snowmobile and haul sled to Pinkham Notch Visitor Center.

Analysis

The Winter Route on Lion’s Head is a steep mountaineering route that requires the ability to self-arrest in the event of a fall. Glissading was a reasonable descent option given the soft snow conditions on this day.

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