Safety Stories

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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…

When was the last time you restocked your first aid kit?

Imagine yourself out on a beautiful backcountry adventure. You pick the place - wherever you like! You've planned to spend the night, and as you're settling into camp, you get out your cook set and start to make dinner. All of the sudden - boom - you cut your finger. And yikes, its a bleeder! Read more…

Join us at the 2017 Wilderness Risk Management Conference

Managing risks as an organization devoted to outdoor adventure and exploration is a conundrum. To fulfill our mission of Explore, Learn, Conserve, we must take risks. But what are the right risks to take, how do we measure those risks, and what happens if we take risks that have unintended consequences?  Read more…

Learning from Near Misses: Situational Awareness Averts Catastrophe on The Tooth

A climber on rappel dislodged a piece of rock the size of a small computer or a VCR. It fell 10-15' and pinched one strand of the rappel rope against a thin ledge on the second to last rappel on the descent, severing it clean through. Read more…

Near Miss: West Fork Foss Lakes - Thunder, then Floods

A group of ten hikers with the Seattle Conditioning Hiking Series set out from the West Fork Foss 1064 trailhead for an out-and-back hike of Trout, Malachite, Copper and (if time allowed) Little Heart Lakes. Read more…

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

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. Read more…

Lessons Learned - Glissading into a 30-foot Hole - Aasgard Pass

After climbing for over 20 years in the Cascades, I have lived through a few incidents and near-misses. This is the story of how I almost died glissading down Aasgard Pass in the Enchantments. Read more…