Safety Stories

Safety Stories

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Mount Washington: Foothold breaks. Alas, so does shoulder

[Leader]
Five of us were hoping to climb the upper East Ridge of Mt. Washington as a new entry in the list of Basic Rock climbs. Read more…

Seattle Program Center: An Unexpectedly Quick Self Rescue Lower

FIELD TRIP LEADER
Subject suffered 2nd degree rope burns on fingers due to losing control of assisted rappel during two-person self-rescue simulation. Location was the South Plaza climbing area at the Mountaineers Clubhouse. First Aid was cold water bath for several hours. Formal medical treatment not required/sought. Subject was able to participate fully in seminar next day wearing gloves, full recovery within one week. Read more…

Seattle Program Center: Leader fall on what should have been a top-rope setup

LEADER
This incident occurred on the inside wall during the field trip. One student was belaying another but used a leader belay setup instead of a top-rope setup. This means the climber was not on belay at all and she certainly wasn't clipping any bolts.  Read more…

How To: When To Put On Crampons

Crampons are an indispensable tool for any alpine mountaineer. But sometimes it's not so "cut-and-dry" as to when you should use them. Read more…

How to: Prepare for Variable Weather

With the days getting shorter and colder as we creep into winter, many climbers start looking for warmer venues for their climbing excursions. If you are looking for a weekend warm-up, we have good crags close to home, like Vantage, Tieton, and Smith Rock. However, even though these areas are usually warm during the day, they can still get bitterly cold at night. Climbers should be prepared for the temperature swings that accompany these arid, deserty crags. Read more…

Scouts' Mantra - Be Prepared!

A number of small incidents on a hike to Lake Serene perfectly illustrate the need for the Ten Essentials. Read more…

Mount Angeles - Encounter with Aggressive (Stinging) Insects

HEADS UP
Incident reports of party members getting stung by yellow jackets and wasps began arriving in mid July this year, six weeks earlier than one would normally expect.
Read more…

Eldorado Peak - Downclimbing a slab, slipping on a wet spot

On August 24, our team had an accident at the base of the Eldorado glacier during the descent from Eldorado Peak. Thanks to a great team work, and a good amount of luck, we were able to continue to the trailhead without assistance. Read more…

Mountaineers Sponsors Volunteers to Attend the WRMC

The National Outdoor Leadership School's (NOLS) 22nd Annual Wilderness Risk Management Conference will be held in Portland this October. The conference is an invaluable source of training and professional development and The Mountaineers are investing in its volunteers by sending four volunteer "ambassadors!" Read more…

"Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock, Rock!": How to Avoid Rockfall

"OUCH!" screamed my instructor at the rock field trip last month. A golf ball-sized piece of Mt. Erie had just bounced off the top of her helmet and she asked her students why no one had been screaming the "rock, rock, rock!" warning. In this case, however, no climbers were above her and as best as we could figure out, an empty rope had knocked it loose earlier in a climb and it finally fell after the climber was off rappel. "Thank you" to Instructor Sherrie Trecker for that perfect demonstration why you always wear your helmet at the crag - even if you're not belaying or on a rope. Because of that, one modest "ouch" was all Sherrie had to say to convey her level of surprise: no injury was caused.  Read more…

How To: Preventing Descent Accidents

Recently, a group of 6 climbers were on Sahale Peak in the Boston Basin area of North Cascades National Park. They'd enjoyed great weather, and  climbed efficiently up the Quien Sabe Glacier on the northwest side of the peak, reaching the summit around 10:30am. Read more…

Snowfield Peak - A stumble at the rope-up point

[Leader]
I'm writing to report a minor injury that occurred on my Snowfield Peak climb this past weekend 7/11-7/13. This was my mentored glacier climb lead. Read more…

Vantage - Feathers: I believe I neglected to mention that part of the plan

[Leader]
One of the Intermediates students helping my Basic SIG led an unnamed trad route to rig a top rope for the SIG students. It was a short easy route that topped out on an open ledge. He wasn't aware one could walk up the back of the route and rig a top-rope. Read more…

(Two) Hard Day's Nights on Goode

The group ended up coming out early-morning on day-five of what was supposed to have been a three day climb. That things turned out as well as they did can be attributed to good group problem solving and preparation by the climb leader. Read more…

How To: Glissade Safely

A group was recently out on Mt. Baker for an instructional session that was to be immediately followed by a climb of the mountain via the Easton Glacier. Read more…

Lundin: Brush-Bashed and Bivied

[Leader]
Our plan was to hike in via Cave Ridge, climb the West Ridge, descend by rappelling via the East Ridge, and return via Commonwealth Basin where we had left a car. The actual climb went well, but several things contributed to it taking longer than expected which resulted in an unplanned overnight bivouac in Commonwealth Basin: Read more…

Eldorado - The Outcome Could Have Been Very Different

[Climb Leader]
On August 24, our team had an accident at the base of the Eldorado glacier during the descent from Eldorado Peak. Thanks to a great team work, and a good amount of luck, we were able to continue to the TH without assistance. Read more…

An Epic Scramble on Granite Mountain

As sometimes happens on trips, successive events combine to leave participants mentally exhausted, and small mistakes can become serious. Though all the scramblers on this trip were relieved to get down unscathed with tales for their families, sometimes group members in these kinds of situations might want to think about turning the party around before circumstances become dire. Read more…

Slip-Sliding during climb back to Bumblebee Pass

[Leader]
Cause: Slip on Steep Snow (caused by fatigue and inattention/poor technique, according to injured climber). No helmet. Read more…

Helicopter Rescue: A Story of Survival

The level of outdoor community support in the Pacific Northwest is truly unmatched. As a transplant myself, I know it can be difficult to make connections in a new place. Not so much when you go outside. You can roll up to any trailhead, crag, or mountainside and form friendships to last a lifetime. That’s why it’s only fitting that I should find myself here, working at The Mountaineers, through a lucky connection with a fellow outdoor enthusiast: Miles McDonough. Read more…

Hiking Party Uses Mountain Rescue Skills

Just prior to reaching the summit of Mount Pugh, we encountered a solo hiker that had passed us earlier on the way up. However he was not on the established trail and none of us could see him initially. He asked us to go back where he could see us. Read more…

Almost Toast - Munter Rappel Goes Bad

The student climbed to the top of one of the pinnacles on the climbing wall and set up for a rappel using a Munter Hitch. He constructed the Munter properly and was checked out at the top by the instructor. Good to go, the student unclipped his personal anchor and began his descent. Read more…

It's Too Popular an Area for Trundling to Ever Be an Option

June 16, The Tooth (Snoqualmie Pass)

After a fun climb of The Tooth, a football-sized rock was knocked loose when a rappeller weighed the tree-root anchor that was touching the rock. Read more…

This Handhold Was Not So Solid

August 10, Gothic Peak (Barlow Pass)

Near the bottom of the summit block on Gothic Peak, the last scrambler in line fell a short distance and hurt her side. Read more…

Snowshoeing in Steep Terrain

December 30, 2012 - Snoqualmie Mountain Read more…