Safety Stories

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The Importance of Turnaround Times

Decision-making as a leader is hard and inevitable. There are times when you are forced to face these epic inner battles rivaling Middle-Earth wars and can choose to retreat or be defeated. Retreat equates to loss of pride, but you live to die another day. Defeat may bring you to the ultimate destination but may also ensure delicious victory in the clenching teeth of the Sauron of Summit Fever. Read more…

Join us at the 2018 Wilderness Risk Management Conference!

How do industry trends affect, shape, and impact our programs at The Mountaineers? If this is a question that you've ever considered – and a conversation that you're interested in being a part of – we invite you to join The Mountaineers at this year's Wilderness Risk Management Conference in Portland, Oregon. Read more…

Why Developing a Routine Could be Your Most Important Water Safety Precaution

I have been a recreational kayaker for twenty five years and paddle often.   I kayak on slow moving rivers, ponds, lakes, and protected salt water coves. I continue to improve my skills as I gain even more experience and become involved with various paddling communities.  I have learned that most of what you can do to stay safe while paddling happens off the water. Read more…

Lessons Learned – Spring Avalanche on Colchuck NBC

With the recent stint of sun and warm spring conditions has come the annual cycle of wet avalanches in the Cascades. Mountaineers Sherrie Trecker and Nicole Cederblom were on a private climb and shared this close call with us. The two were roping up to begin an attempt on the North Buttress Couloir route on Colchuck Peak on May 24, 2018, when the lower half of their descent route was consumed in a massive wet avalanche. Read more…

Forbidden Peak Incident - Summary Incident Report

In July of last year, The Mountaineers community experienced the tragic loss of Sue Bennett, a cherished super volunteer and extraordinary leader of the Bellingham climbing community. As a result of the incident, which occurred on a Mountaineers trip, The Mountaineers initiated a critical response process including the formation of an incident review committee. Read more…

Complacency in the Outdoors

On September 7, 2014, just after 5pm, Ross Halverson and his climbing partner were preparing to rappel from the summit of Garfield Mountain. Ross had just finished climbing Infinite Bliss, a twenty-three pitch bolted route ascending the south side of Garfield Mountain. As the late summer sun sunk toward the horizon, it became apparent that both climbers would need to move quickly and efficiently to descend before dark.  Read more…

Staying Prepared for the Best Kind of Adventures

Unprepared adventurers, if they’re not lucky, can find themselves struggling out in the dark under deteriorating conditions — or worse. Perhaps they leave without appropriate clothing or gear. Or they go without being cognizant of weather or available daylight. A few face difficulty because they chose an objective they were not physically ready for. And some expose themselves and others to risk because they decide to continue the climb even though objective information suggests they would be safer turning around or choosing another destination.  Read more…

Hikes, Bears & Brews: Playing Smart in WA's Bear Country

Did you know that Washington state is home to more than 25,000 black bears and two small populations of grizzlies? Spring is a great time to explore the natural beauty of our state and it’s also prime time to practice your bear awareness skills. Bears are highly active this time of year, waking from hibernation and looking for food. Read more…

2018 Safety Incidents Through Apr 2

The first 3 months of 2018  have been typical when it comes to the number of safety incidents reported by activity leaders and participants. Read more…

Granite Mountain - April Avalanche Time

As Mountaineers, we are committed to learning from our experiences. We examine every incident that happens on a Mountaineers trip for opportunities to improve the ways we explore and teach. Our volunteer safety committee reviews every incident report and picks a few each month to share as examples of ‘Lessons Learned’. The trip report below describes what happened on this trip, in the leader’s own words, and outlines the lessons the leader has identified. In some cases, we offer additional key learnings from the incident. Read more…