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aggressivepedestrian

Accident on Hood

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you have to be registerd to read that, can your post the article?

 

Hope to god it is no one we know. peace frown.gif

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From kgw.com:

 

04:50 PM PST on Saturday, April 3, 2004

By TERESA BELL, kgw.com Staff

 

MOUNT HOOD, Ore. -- Black Hawk helicopter crews safely hoisted two injured climbers off Mt. Hood in dangerous conditions during a high-altitude rescue Saturday afternoon.

 

A trauma crew brings one of the injured climbers into Legacy Emanuel Hospital on a stretcher. (KGW Photo)

 

The two people were climbing in separate groups on Mt. Hood's Reid Glacier when they were hurt, said Major Arnold Strong, a spokesperson for the Oregon Army National Guard's Military Air Rescue Team.

 

One of the climbers had head trauma that was described as "life-threatening" and the other suffered an ankle injury, added Angie Brandenburg, a spokesperson for the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

 

Rescuers airlifted the climber with the head injury off the mountain first. But it wasn't easy.

 

Mount Hood. (KGW file photo)

 

Strong said the crew actually had to abort the rescue halfway through, and return later.

 

"They lowered the flight medics as close as they could and they climbed over to the patients to stabilize them," Strong said. But before the helicopter could hoist the man up, Strong said white-out conditions blinded the pilot. So the crew was forced to leave the medics and the patients on the mountain and land at a lower elevation.

 

After the storm cleared, the helicopter crew returned and safely hoisted the injured man off the glacier. He was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland for treatment.

 

A second helicopter maneuvered over the other climber, a woman, as a medic on the mountainside secured her to a safety basket. She was eventually airlifted to Oregon Health and Science University just after 3 p.m., Strong said, as a third Black Hawk hovered above, supervising the rescue for an added safety precaution.

 

Authorities have not yet released the names or ages of the climbers.

 

Call for a rescue came in on a cell phone

 

Emergency dispatchers were first alerted about the injured climbers at about 12:30 p.m., when members of Portland Mountain Rescue came across the pair during their own recreational climb, Brandenburg said.

 

The Army rescue team, based in Salem, was soon contacted and launched three UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters at about 1:30 p.m., Strong said.

 

In addition, members of the Clackamas County Search and Rescue Team began hiking toward the injured climbers from a basecamp set up at Timberline Lodge.

 

The entire rescue effort took about three hours.

Edited by aggressivepedestrian

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all in all sound like a good rescue on both parts. Hope the guy with the head injury is okay. could have been way worse.

 

nice work resuce people thumbs_up.gif

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Wow! I climbed the Standard route this morning! I was long gone by 3:30 though. I hope the climbers are OK...

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The two people were actually in the same group. I was skiing down from the summit and decided to head over to check out Illumination Saddle. I saw two people lying on the reid glacier, and then they started shouting for help. The rescue started from there. They were climbing Castle Crags. They are lucky to be alive after the fall they took.

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bigdrink.gif to PMR and the other people who helped out. Sounds like things would have been very bad had the climbers not been seen bigdrink.gifthumbs_up.gif

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Crazy Ian! Last we saw you was after you skied down off the summit and were chatting with friends at the Hogsback. We probably put on our skis and headed down when the accident occured. Crazy, cause we were sitting in the parking lot drinking beers and on the way back to PDX saw the blackhawk landing at Legacy. We were joking that there was a rescue on Hood. Unfortunately, it was true. Glad that they survived. Seems like a long fall to me.

 

Any idea why they were so low on the Castle Crags route (a route that seems to require stable snow on the traverse) so late in the day? Is that where they fell from, the traverse?

 

You looked stylin' on tv last night! Glad you were there at the right time. Qucik recovery to the two climbers.

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I'm glad that the climbers will apparently make full recoveries, but please someone answer a question or two for me if you could.

 

I mean NO disrespect to anyone, (and I really don't know exactly what happened in this particular case) but please explain, why do climbers rope up on steep snow (minus crevasse threats) and then fail to anchor their rope to the mountain? It seems to me that failing to anchor a rope would only ensure that in the case of a fall, the entire team would go down as well as the individual who started the fall.

 

Is it unethical to have one of your partners fall alone? Is this the "all for one" etc., philosophy applied wrongly? Or, is it just that those who use this "technique" (or lack of) are trusting that know one in the team will fall?

 

It seems that there are so many of THESE KINDS of falls taking place, especially on Mt Hood. I hear that in Europe they use team roping much less, is this true?

 

My thinking on this is simply that - I will NOT rope to others UNLESS the rope is anchored OR we are on a nearly flat glacier with crevasse threats. Am I wrong on this?

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Ryland - I'm not sure where they fell from, though they said they were climbing Castle Crags. There is a ramp below the pinnacles up there which might be where they were. Needless to say, it was a long fall.

 

dmuja1 - It's unclear if they had pro in or not. At least one screw was picked up in the debris strewn across the headwall. Unfortunately, Mt. Hood is not known for solid screws and most ice is rime ice - often only protectable by slings and pickets used in unusual ways, or weaving the rope through the ice. It was also hot up there. Perhaps they were balling up a bit and that contributed to a slip.

 

Perhaps it is inappropriate to rope up w/o pro in many places, but sometimes you just wind up in that situation. I don't know if that was the case here. Sometimes s. happens.

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When I climbed Yokum Ridge, we belayed something like 17 pitches. The only "solid" anchors we got were when we kicked/chopped holes in the snow and rime and sat down to belay. Or at least we told ourselves that these platforms were solid....(we KNEW that the screws and pickets in between were garbage).

 

dmuja makes a good point about the mutual suicide pact and how it may be better to unrope if you don't have anchors, but so to does iain: the reality is that most of us spend a great deal of time roped to a partner with little or nothing in the way of secure belays on a general mountaineering outing.

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dmuja, a couple thoughts on your questions:

 

People rope up unprotected for a number of reasons, but at NOLS we teach the technique in the context of a progression of team management on steep terrain. There are, in the NOLS world of climbing, points on a continuum of safety. Think of a graph where the x-axis is "security" and the y-axis is "speed," and there is a somewhat negative correlation: the more securely you travel, the slower you go. The safety techniques we teach for travel on snow, in order of increasing security/decreasing speed, are, generally:

 

1. Feet. Stay on your feet. Then you don't fall.

2. Self arrest. If your feet fail you, then you stop yourself quickly.

3. Self-belay (plant the shaft of your axe uphill) to reduce the likelihood of falling. Typically used on 35-55 degree snow with low consequences.

4. Team arrest. Team ropes up with the strongest/most experienced climber uphill, team progresses with good spacing between members and rope constantly taut between members. If any climber falls (other than the leader) they have little chance to build up momentum in their fall. Used on steeper snow with moderate consequences and on crevassed terrain.

5. Running belay. Roped team ascends with intermediate protection. Used on steep terrain with high consequences.

6. Pitch it out. Leader climbs a pitch placing protection (or not) and belays rest of team on toprope anchor. Used on ice and 5th class rock or terrain with severe consequences.

 

The NOLS philosophy is to encourage climbers to develop the judgment to know when it is appropriate to use which technique, or combination of techniques. We are pretty vigilant about the key to making a team arrest work: the taut rope and the good line of ascent. If you are going to rope up, the rope becomes a hazard if there is extension between climbers, the climbers are improperly spaced, or the leader cannot self-arrest. Obviously there is a lot of variation in how well team rope travel is done. Some climbers employ it effectively and others don't. When properly used, the team arrest can work quite well. But ultimately the climbers must make a decision about how secure they want to be versus how fast they want to go, and that varies enormously depending on a number of factors.

 

On my NOLS courses I sometimes feel comfortable ascending steep snow unroped when I am confident that my students have strong technique: I trust their feet and they have demonstrated an ability to self-arrest. On one course I had a student who couldn't cross a parking lot without falling on his face, so I always used slower but more secure travel techniques when he was with me. Sure enough he would fall, and the instructors came to predict his falls well enough that we anticipated exactly where we should place protection to keep this kid from going very far.

 

So whether or not you want to tie in is up to you. You know your abilities best, and if you know your partners' abilities then you can hopefully make an accurate assessment of your team's need to rope up. Everyone has different levels of risk they are willing to accept. Sometimes roping up can pose more of a risk than soloing, but at other times you might be thankful for a team arrest. Just don't assume that traveling roped and unprotected is always a bad idea. It is merely one possible mode of ascent that has its applications and can improve safety if done correctly.

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Reading today's Oregonian article, I found it interesting that it referred to "whiteout" conditions and that it was snowing. Well, as everyone knows who was up there, weather did come in about 1:30 and the upper part of the mountain got socked in, but it sure as hell wasn't snowing. In fact, as I was going up the hogsback about that time, (yes, I know, late on a warmish day boxing_smiley.gif), it felt like it got warmer with the cloud layer (thermal entrapment Geek_em8.gif). Halfway down the hogsback at roughly 2pm looked like this, we affectionately call this "skiing by braille":

 

2135brailleski.jpg

 

And, no, this photo has not been photoshopped...but I think some clarification on terminology would be good here on "whiteout" which I always associate with snow and "socked in" which I just associate with fog or low cloud cover.

Great job PMR. thumbs_up.gif

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As Iain and the medics were attending to Debra during the whiteout, I sat with Doug and chatted with him to make sure he stayed with us. I kept asking him how he was doing but that got old quick so I made small talk with him.

 

We talked about a whole bunch of things. To keep him focused on something, I eventually asked him about the accident and what happened.

 

I wasn't taking notes as an investigation- simply making conversation to keep an injured person interactive- but he indicated that they did use pro.

 

They had started the Castle Crags route, run it up to the top of West Crater Rim and then tried to connect to the Reid HW route. They were on the top of the ridge somewhere between the notch gaining the ridge and route 14A in the Thomas guide when Debra fell.

 

He said that they had a single picket in between the two of them, as well as two tools in the snow and good feet, but that when Debra fell and everything ripped.

 

I didn't ask if she was on belay or if it was a running belay or simul climbing.

 

Again, the info above was from a climber who had just fallen a long distance and was lying cold and in pain on a backboard while waiting for the whiteout to lift. It is contributed here for learning and clarification not as judgement.

 

Chris

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dmuja,

 

this is just a response to the issues that you raised - im not passing judgment on the two climbers involved in the accident.

 

i think the two main problems contributing to these sort of accidents on steep snow are:

 

1. people underestimate or are not aware of the consequences of a fall on steep snow

 

2. people are experienced and aware of what can happen but choose to stay roped up because they want to save time and "know" that they arent going to fall.

 

this happened to two of my french buddies in chamonix, and they were experienced climbers. four of us (2 teams of 2) had been climbing a route that had been climbed in pitches. the descent involved a downclimb of about a relatively short, 45 degree hard snow/ice headwall to a lower angled yet crevassed glacier where we would be in glacier travel mode. while descending the summit ridge, my french friends chose to stay roped up and just take in coils to go into glacier travel mode so they wouldnt have to stop and rope up to cross the schrund and descend the glacier below the headwall. one of them slipped, the other was pulled off, self arrests were useless on the frozen neve, they rocketed down the face bouncing and getting tangled in the rope between them, and a few seconds later they were dead, tangled up in their rope below the schrund. this is a prime example of #2 above. these guys were solid, but were so confident in their abilities that they "knew" they couldnt fall on that terrain.

 

also, i would have to strongly disagree with those who say that this practice of being roped up on steep snow without intermediate pro is less common in europe than in north america - i see this sort of thing far more often when climbing in the alps.

 

so i think your decisions as to when to rope up and unrope are spot on. but when climbing with partners i trust, do i ignore my experience/knowledge and stay roped up when i shouldnt? - sometimes...

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Word. Knowledge and judgement: the two best tools you can take into the backcountry... useless without each other but priceless when used in conjuction.

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Thanks for all the thoughtful replies. I try to learn as much as I can from all sources - especially acident reports.

 

One of the more scarey moments of my own short climbing career occured while solo down climbing 45-50 degree snow, late on a sunny warm morning, south aspect, when the snow balled my crampons into uselessness, it was such a beautiful day! but I was barely able to stay upright, and i doubt I could have self arrested on that steep a slope. Sunny+warm+beautiful= lulled me into a reckless stupor ;-)

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Just for future reference D, it may have been better to take off your crampons in those conditions, or get anti balling plates (not always reliable). If the snow was so soft, you can kick steps in and not worry about the balling. We all learn every time we go out, no matter how long any of us have climbed. Keep it up!

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hah, patrick had to slog so far up the hill from where he was dropped, he was dying when he reached the scene trying to drag the jp (large chunk of metal) up the hill. always fun to be whisked from 0 to 9100' and start working out.

 

nice pictures tex

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