Safety Stories

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Risk Assessment with Josh Cole, North Cascades Mountain Guide

Josh and I first met when we worked together at the Northwest Outward Bound School, and I’ve always been struck by his creativity, analytical skills, approach to teaching, and sense of humor. Josh has a rare ability to champion and role-model the highest values and expectations as an outdoor educator/guide — one of many attributes that make him such an inspiring professional colleague. Read more…

Risk Management Evaluation: Recommendations from Outdoor Safety Institute

In the summer 2016, The Mountaineers hired Outdoor Safety Institute (OSI) to evaluate how we manage risk in our Global Adventures, Climbing, and Scrambling programs. OSI outlined a number of recommendations, and we have put together a plan to implement them. Read more…

Surprise Mountain - Winter Wading in Surprise Creek

This is a classic winter scramble up a scenic valley, past two mountain lakes, to a summit with outstanding views. Read more…

A step Ahead of Avalanches

On December 29, 2002, a party of seven mountaineers were involved in an avalanche accident in Cement Basin near Crystal Mountain. While skiing, they triggered a slide that buried one and partially buried three. One person was killed and another sustained a broken leg.  Read more…

The Tooth - Hit knee on rock during rappel... Passing out came later

Upon starting the second rappel from the summit of The Tooth, a Basic student  hit his knee on the rock. He said it was fine, and after a minute to recompose himself, nothing more was discussed until after our final rappel to the rock field below the base of the climb. Read more…

Dragontail Peak, Serpentine Arete - A reluctant call on the Personal Locator Beacon

Our plan was to climb Dragontail Peak by the Serpentine Arete car-to-car from the Colchuck Lake Trailhead on Thursday, August 31. We expected to return to the car around nightfall Thursday. We both had cell phones but did not expect to have service (T-Mobile). Each of us carried a one-way emergency-only AQR ResQLink PLB. Read more…

Indian Heaven Wilderness, East Crater - Wildfire Erupts

At 9am Sunday a major forest fire suddenly erupted about a mile south of our camp and required us to hike out soon afterward. The fire was near the trail we had hiked in on, so another backpacker camped near us led us out on an uncharted trail that he was familiar with. After we hiked out, the entire Indian Heaven Wilderness and surrounding areas were evacuated and closed. At last report the fire was still out of control and had consumed 1000 acres. Read more…

Wildfires and Smoke Create Hazards and Close Popular Recreation Areas

Smoky conditions from Canadian fires blanketed our region for much of August. The smoke eventually cleared, but only temporarily. The smoke is back, ashes are falling from the sky, and a unusually hot, dry period combined with little offshore wind has created a thick haze over the entire Pacific Northwest.  Read more…

Mount Stuart - Rockfall Hits Solo Climber on Descent

Team member names used with permission Read more…