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johnnygraec

Accident on Chair Peak today?

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I just saw a blurb on the news about an accident on Chair Peak today with a climber apparently injured and a rescue postponed due to high winds. Anyone know whats up?

Edited by johnnygraec

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I know the climber but don't have any information I can share. He's a tough cookie, has solid first aid training, and a cool head. He made it to the hospital and will be alright.

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Glad to hear a full recovery is expected.

 

As usual there's a good bit of conflicting info floating around. It would be educational for all of us perhaps if the person was willing to share a short description of what happened.

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I know the climber but don't have any information I can share. He's a tough cookie, has solid first aid training, and a cool head. He made it to the hospital and will be alright.

 

I by no means was trying to disparage anyone involved. sorry if it seemed I did. I will delete my previous post.

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A friend and I were skiing in the area last Sunday. We found powder on top of bulletproof ice. We bailed from our original plans.

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Gene, my comment was not a response to anything anyone may have suggested here- no offense taken. From what I've read of your commentary on this site I find that your posts are sincere, considerate, and based on experience, so I encourage you to continue being an exemplary contributor to the forums.

 

I was just sharing my personal experience and knowledge of the injured climber.

 

I've since spoken to his family and another of my friends, who was the injured climber's partner on Chair. The short version is the injured climber triggered an avalanche on the descent, slid 200-300m, was buried (unclear whether complete or partial). Partner watched the whole thing happen, dug him out, treated him on scene, was able to make a phone call. Another of our friends responded from Seattle, was first on scene, and helped out until the cavalry arrived. Broken wrist, broken ankle, but recovery projected. Excellent response from all involved.

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what first sounded as a sprain, becomes real when it is a avi plus 2 broken joints. Sounds like the friend at the scene and the friends from seattle did a good job. (as well as the SAR) That is a bunch of buddies that I want when things go wrong.

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Fromage's info is correct. My climbing partner, 3 buddies who skinned up to help with rescue, Patrol and SAR did a superb job. The rescue was well coordinated and efficient. We experienced a 20-30cm human triggered wind slab which built in the Bryant Chair Basin below and just South of the Chair Peak rap gulley during the course of our climb of the N face of Chair. My partner and I attempted self evac but failed secondary to my joint instability and shock. We were met at approx the thumb tack maybe 600 feet below the deposition zone. Tx at HMC for L radial fx, L fibula fx, L calcaneous dislocation, R 8th rib fx, R quad lacs, R facial lacs, bilatera peri orbital contusions. Deep gratitude for the assistance and support. Full report being sent to NWAC. More info as recovery allows.

 

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I've also posted this over on TAY, but want to share the information as broadly as possible:

 

Now that things have settled down and everyone's returned home, I'll chime in too.

 

The two climbers ascended the North Face of Chair Peak, but found snow conditions much looser than reported by teams over the weekend, slowing them down markedly. But both were very experienced climbers and familiar with Snoqualmie Pass, and felt ok finishing the descent in the dark.

 

What they hadn't counted on is the increasing winds managing to move snow that day, creating a windslab pocket high in Chair Peak basin. While descending the upper slopes, after rapelling from the ridge, one triggered this windslab at approximately 5750' elevation and was carried 500' downslope. He suffered a fractured wrist, ankle, and foot. His partner managed to splint his injuries and drag him a further 250' to the flats immediately uphill from the Thumbtack.

 

911 was called immediately, as well as a phone call to friends. Variable winds in the basin prevented a helicopter evacuation. Three of us were able to rally and respond, arriving with the SMR hasty team and assisting with the evacuation. The injured climber was evacuated and taken by ambulance to Harborview, where he had two surgeries and was released on Saturday. A full, albeit long, recovery is expected.

 

I want to give a huge thanks and shout-out to Erik and Patrick, the two volly ski patrollers who responded to and accident; and to SMR and ESAR, who did an impressive job. I was particularly impressed with how quickly SMR responded, how well they managed the rescue, and utilized their resources (especially the three of us friends and ESAR). Pnwclimb's partner did a fantastic job splinting him up, and keeping him stable while waiting for rescue.

 

For the snow scientists, winds picked up from calm to 25mph in the morning, and the temperature inversion allowed the moved snow to create a cohesive slab quickly of DF. The bed surface was the MF layer that will plaque us for some time, possibly with a very small weak interface of FC on top of the exposed MF. The crown was 60m, averaging 15cm; the right flank was indistinct; the left flank averaged 25cm high, and descended 200' elevation down-slope. The total slide length was 600' elevation. Slope angle at the crown was 40deg, the majority of the slidepath was 35deg. Slides during the previous storm cycle exposed the MF and created a hardened surface to allow the slide to travel further than possibly in other conditions.

 

Feel free to ask me any questions in public or by message.

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