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Safety Highlight Have Appendicitis, Will Practice (Self-Arrest)
Lessons from Mountaineer Incidents

Seattle Climbing and Seattle Safety committees are experimenting with raising awareness of safety issues that can arise on climbs, scrambles, backcountry skiing, and other Mountaineer activities. Previous Safety Highlights and other information are available on the Safety Committees web page.

Identifying information has been removed or disguised.

-- Dave Shema, Seattle Branch Safety Officer


There were a number of illnesses occurring during Mountaineer activities in 2012.

Illnesses are not expected, are often hard or impossible to diagnose, and may initially be denied or ignored.  

First aid options can be limited.  ("Cowboy Up" is usually not the best option.)


May 5th 2012 - Stevens Pass, Skyline Lake Area

Illness: Appendicitis

Cause: Unknown


A student developed apparent Appendicitis and left the field trip in extreme pain with her husband at around 2pm.  She had completed all of the field trip requirements.  She notified her instructor of the pain on the way to the final meeting location at Skyline Lake.  She was able to safely evacuate with her husband.  The co-leader verified from the parking lot that they made it out ok and left for the hospital.

The student said that she had off and on pain for 48 hrs before the start of the field trip,  but it hit really bad as they were starting up to skyline for the 3pm meet up.


[Leader] Sounds like she and her husband had an idea that it was coming but chose to ignore it and hope it was something else.

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