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Shasta Accident

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Shasta Accident

Postby ScottyP » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:08 pm

I have often wondered how many weekend warriors can really self-arrest when needed. Good thing he did not hook his crampon, can you say "Rag Doll Cartwheel". Glad this ended somewhat ok for him.

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20 ... -Mt-Shasta
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Postby WML » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:15 pm

Read about that on the ST forums yesterday, good to hear the guy made it out alive.
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Re: Shasta Accident

Postby drjohnso1182 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:33 pm

ScottyP wrote:I have often wondered how many weekend warriors can really self-arrest when needed.

I don't think the numbers are very good. I know I'm not helping; I'm 0-for-1 in non-practice situations. Even including experienced climbers, though, I saw a statistic that the self-arrest success rate is only about 50%; I'll have to find the source for that later.

The article doesn't mention it, but I get the impression this guy's axe was still in the snow where he stopped to fix his crampon. That's just a guess, though. Glad to hear he's home and recovering.
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Postby thexcat » Tue Nov 03, 2009 7:19 pm

When I climbed Shasta in 2005, there was a very similar incident. Guy fell ~2000ft from Redbanks and had to be airlifted out later that day :shock: Apparently the guy had forgotten to wear the ice ax leash.
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Re: Shasta Accident

Postby MoapaPk » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:20 pm

drjohnso1182 wrote:
ScottyP wrote:I have often wondered how many weekend warriors can really self-arrest when needed.

I don't think the numbers are very good. I know I'm not helping; I'm 0-for-1 in non-practice situations. Even including experienced climbers, though, I saw a statistic that the self-arrest success rate is only about 50%; I'll have to find the source for that later.

The article doesn't mention it, but I get the impression this guy's axe was still in the snow where he stopped to fix his crampon. That's just a guess, though. Glad to hear he's home and recovering.


I've read that average numerous places; I doubt there is a double-blind study. 8)

Here's one: http://www.getoutdoors.com/go/golearn/171
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Postby rhyang » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:37 pm

telewoman wrote:
thexcat wrote:When I climbed Shasta in 2005, there was a very similar incident. Guy fell ~2000ft from Redbanks and had to be airlifted out later that day :shock: Apparently the guy had forgotten to wear the ice ax leash.

Ummm...I know that the guide services in the Mt. Shasta area don't encourage climbers to wear a ice-axe leash around the wrist. It it used more for glacier and rope travel. A few accidents that have happened on the mountain with people wearing their leashes and then taken a fall has been the ice-axe impales into the person's leg, arm, and even worse stories.
I believe there are two rules of thought to wearing the ice-axe leash. I personally don't wear the leash except to attach it to my harness for glacier and rope travel. Just my thoughts.:wink:


I recall an accident in 2005 over Memorial Day weekend. There was a major whiteout .. I turned around near Thumb Rock and headed back down the gulch. Downclimbing the rock hard snow was an exercise in patience.. it was not a big deal to me since I'd been up Shasta three times in 2004. Mostly I'd come up to meet a group and practice glacier mountaineering skills.

Anyway, I remember getting back to Bunny Flat and watching a man being loaded into an ambulance. It looked like a lot of skin had been scraped off his hands and forearms. I read later that he'd also suffered a broken ankle. Can't recall how far he'd fallen, but I see there are some accident reports for past years here -

http://www.shastaavalanche.org/advisori ... /accidents

The current climbing advisory says this -

USFS wrote:A climber fell while ascending on the night of 10/31 and tumbled 1200 vertical feet. He had multiple injuries and was helicoptered off the mountain and flown to a hospital in Redding on 11/1. The current conditions are more hazardous than the typical conditions during early summer climbs. We currently have 1-3 feet of hard snow on the mountain above 9000 ft. This leaves numerous rocks protruding through the snow. With smooth and firm snow, if you fall and are unable to self arrest immediately, you will pick up speed rapidly and most likely impact rocks, resulting in serious to fatal injuries. We had a fatality in November, 2008 under similar conditions. The current climbing conditions are best for experienced mountaineers. Always wear a helmet and use an ice axe and crampons. Self arrest should be second nature. Also, we are observing a lot of rock fall as the sun warms slopes, so use caution and minimize your exposure. Check the weather forecast before your climb, monitor the weather during your climb and be prepared for strong winds, cold temperatures and low visibility as weather changes rapidly this time of year.


Sorry to hear about this. Hope you get some good skiing in this year Robin :)
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Postby brianhughes » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:28 pm

Here's an up-close and personal account of a very similar incident. Apparently it's an all-too-common occurance on that slope.

http://www.summitpost.org/trip-report/267603/Winter-Rescue-on-Mt-Shasta.html
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Re: Shasta Accident

Postby HeyItsBen » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:38 pm

ScottyP wrote:I have often wondered how many weekend warriors can really self-arrest when needed.


What does it matter if you're a weekend warrior or a pro? There's practiced and unpracticed imho. I'm a weekend warrior and I've self arrested on an icy slope that was ~45 degrees, something I've heard people say is next to impossible. Its the only fall I've ever taken and I was relatively inexperienced at the time, but I'd previously spent lots of time practicing self arrest techniques, and it might have saved my life.
Last edited by HeyItsBen on Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby ScottyP » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:54 pm

Benjamin, I did not mean to offend. I am also a "weekend warrior" type and I also practice it A LOT (on every trip). Excuse my poor choice of words.
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Postby HeyItsBen » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:17 pm

ScottyP wrote:Benjamin, I did not mean to offend. I am also a "weekend warrior" type and I also practice it A LOT (on every trip). Excuse my poor choice of words.


No offense taken at all, just pointing out that climbing experience doesn't equal self arrest experience. I bet a lot of "experienced" climbers don't practice self arrest enough. I had removed it from my previous post, but I mentioned that I know of a climber that slipped and perished on a class 3 snow slope with a long runout before a cliff, this person had almost 500 peaks under their belt.
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Postby Luciano136 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:18 pm

Yep, there was an accident when I was there as well. Seems very common:
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Postby MoapaPk » Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:32 pm

brianhughes wrote:Here's an up-close and personal account of a very similar incident. Apparently it's an all-too-common occurance on that slope.

http://www.summitpost.org/trip-report/267603/Winter-Rescue-on-Mt-Shasta.html


Great write-up, Brian. I missed that the 1st time around.
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Postby AndyJB444 » Wed Nov 04, 2009 3:29 am

telewoman wrote:
thexcat wrote:When I climbed Shasta in 2005, there was a very similar incident. Guy fell ~2000ft from Redbanks and had to be airlifted out later that day :shock: Apparently the guy had forgotten to wear the ice ax leash.

Ummm...I know that the guide services in the Mt. Shasta area don't encourage climbers to wear a ice-axe leash around the wrist. It it used more for glacier and rope travel. A few accidents that have happened on the mountain with people wearing their leashes and then taken a fall has been the ice-axe impales into the person's leg, arm, and even worse stories.
I believe there are two rules of thought to wearing the ice-axe leash. I personally don't wear the leash except to attach it to my harness for glacier and rope travel. Just my thoughts.:wink:


I think if you find yourself falling at a great enough velocity for your ice axe to impale you then you have already made many serious mistakes in both protection and self arrest technique and thus it doesn't really matter if, or where, your ice axe is attached.

...and why was the guy in the article trying to arrest his fall with his crampons??

Lets climb SMART and safe out there, and we'll all have more fun!
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