Steve's Near Miss in Aasgard Pass Brings Awareness to Hidden Hazard

More than just a harrowing story, Education Manager Steve Smith's experience has inspired discourse and action on mountain safety.
Peter Dunau Peter Dunau
Mountaineers Communications Specialist
June 30, 2017

As many of you know, we recently published Education Manager Steve Smith's story "Lessons Learned - Glissading into a 30-foot Hole - Aasgard Pass."

The response has been pretty astounding. To date, the blog has been viewed 24,000 times with hundreds of shares on social media. Local news took note, leading to an interview with NWC Life Channel and an upcoming story with KOMO, as well as other requests from various media outlets.

Steve's blog came at the heels of two recent tragedies due to the same hazard. In hopes of preventing future disaster, the community - from new outlets to climbing forums to Facebook users - seized the opportunity to spread the word about Steve's safety takeaways.

In the wake of such overwhelming interest, it seems that there's an even bigger lesson to be learned from Steve's experience: the benefits of sharing one's close call humbly and openly to improve the safety of others.

Of course, the harrowing nature of Steve's story certainly helped it gain visibility, but to me, the readers' words of both support and gratitude in the comments section said a lot - namely that people want to help one another stay safe outside.

On that note, I really look forward to Steve's "Lesson Learned" feature in our Leader Lines newsletter, and I highly recommend checking out our Safety blog  (many thanks to Safety Committee member Dave Shema for his great posts!). If you saw Steve’s presentation at our last Leadership Conference, you’ll recall that he focused on the importance of sharing and learning from incidents and near-misses in order to create an organizational culture focused on learning from experience. 

Working together to discuss safety is what leads to tangible change. Thanks to the combined efforts of The Mountaineers, Leavenworth Mountain Association, the National Forest Service, and the family of one of the victims, there is now a cautionary sign at the Bridge Creek trailhead notifying people about the hazards of Aasgard Pass.

Be Safe Out There
Or as Steve would say:
Assess and Manage the Risks of Your Adventures!  


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