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Climber falls into Mount Saint Hellens crater

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Postby Gak Icenberg » Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:34 pm

JJ wrote:When I used to live and climb in the Cascades I was told by many climbers that the cornices are notorious for breaking away further than you would expect due to the maritime snow. I have heard many cases where the climber was literally catapulted from the other side of the ridge to to the cornice fracture being so far back. Would there be a difference in cornice strength and the location of fracture lines between a continental and maritime snowpack?
My guess would be yes, from what you say. I've never been to the Cascades but working at a ski resort in the Sierras for many years (this resort would get 500+inches per season more than not). I recall a few times after "BIG" dumps when patrol finally opened the top of the mountain there would be large cornices with fracture lines that ski patrol had marked where the fracture was but not blocked off the cornice with closed signs. After checking it ourselves we'd slid across the crack then bail off. Never had a problem. These were "Big" cornices. I knew the patrollers, and if there was any danger they would have closed them off. These guys at this resort really know their avy danger. I hope the guy will be alright. :?
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Postby Bombchaser » Tue Feb 16, 2010 11:43 pm

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Postby Cascade Scrambler » Wed Feb 17, 2010 1:58 am

That's really too bad. I had hoped he'd be able to hang on through the night.

I'm not taking the obvious bait. I don't think he deserved this (and I never said it, either), I simply think he took his conditions for granted. Hopefully we all learn from this. I heard he was a single father, my heart goes out to his child(ren).
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Postby WICLIMBER » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:15 am

my most sincere condolences to his family
RIP
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Postby Moni » Wed Feb 17, 2010 2:25 pm

JJ wrote:When I used to live and climb in the Cascades I was told by many climbers that the cornices are notorious for breaking away further than you would expect due to the maritime snow. I have heard many cases where the climber was literally catapulted from the other side of the ridge to to the cornice fracture being so far back. Would there be a difference in cornice strength and the location of fracture lines between a continental and maritime snowpack?


All cornices can break away far back from the actual ridge edge and, additionally, it is sometimes hard to determine exactly where the ridge edge is located.. That's the main reason they are so dangerous. I give them as wide a berth as possible.


My condolences to the family.
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Postby Luciano136 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:11 pm

That's really unfortunate and nothing but a tragic accident IMO. It looks like he knew what he was doing.

RIP
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Postby billisfree » Wed Feb 17, 2010 7:51 pm

Thanks for sharing your story Splattski. Good stuff to post.
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