American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Snow — Unable to Self-Arrest, Faulty Use of Crampons, New Hampshire, Mount Washington, Lions Head

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 2012

FALL ON SNOW - UNABLE TO SELF-ARREST, FAULTY USE OF CRAMPONS

New Hampshire, Mount Washington, Lion Head

On April 4, one member of a group was descending the Lion Head Winter Route control of his glissade. He slid an unknown length, impacted trees along the way, and came to rest wedged between two trees just above the first steep pitch on the route. The party was able to reach 911 via cell phone. Local caretakers from the AMC also heard their voices while skiing and went over to assist.

Due to the unfortunate location where he came to rest, stabilization and extrication was difficult and took longer than usual for accidents in this area. The patient was eventually packaged on a backboard in a rescue litter, which was lowered by rope through the steep sections of trail. He was loaded into the USFS snowcat and transferred to an ambulance at Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. The approximate time from injury to when he was transferred to the ambulance was four to five hours.

Analysis

We would like to remind everyone that glissading while wearing crampons is a dangerous activity. Every year people are injured doing this. If you do want to glissade, we recommend removing your crampons first. The Lion Head Winter Route is steep. It requires the ability to self-arrest. (Source: mountwashingtonavalanchecenter.org)

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