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Notable mountain climbing accidents analyzed by experts

KPI TV interviews AAI guide Michael Powers
KPI TV field crew interviews American Alpine Institute's Michael Powers in Bend, OR

I received a phone call from Ross Tuttle, a Producer with KPI TV in New York City.  He had found TraditionalMountaineering from a Google search for accidents on Mt. Hood. KPI is doing a series for national television on profiles in courage based on notable outdoor accidents and he asked my opinion on several dramatic stories.

I was able to help Executive Producer Michael Bentley obtain a $161.00 Permit from the Deschutes National Forest to shoot three interviews from the Mt. Bachelor area adjoining the Three sisters Wilderness. First to be interviewed was Michael Powers, the Assistant Director for Staff Development of the highly regarded American Alpine Institute who moved to Bend last year. The second was and Steve Rollins, Rescue Leader of Portland Mountain Rescue who was in charge of the volunteer rescue response on Mt. Hood after the tragic incident that killed three climbers and crashed a rescue helicopter. The third expert was yours truly, Robert Speik, Webmeister, formerly Chair of the Sierra Club's Angeles Chapter Mountaineering Training Committee (offering basic and advanced training to 1,000 students each year), retired Banker,  Senior FDIC Fraud Investigator, Community College mountaineering instructor, Founder of Cascades Mountaineers Alpine Climbing Club and Search and Rescue Volunteer.

We met in Bend where KPI Field Producer Rich Walton from Long Beach, California, marshaled Cinematographer Lyle Morgan and Sound Man Spence Palermo, Michael Powers and myself for a caravan to Mt. Bachelor. Steve Rollins from the west side of the Cascades, met up with us at noon. The TV professionals found a place near their vehicles and set up an outdoor studio. Michael Powers gave the first and certainly the best interview. I gave the last and worst interview. I found it almost impossible to give a short answer to the interview questions. I was intimidated by the camera. I have new respect for General Wesley Clark and the other TV pros who can get the important messages across in short answers.

I decided that it might be worthwhile to me to paraphrase the questions and try to write down short answers. Lets see what happens!


Notable mountain climbing accidents analyzed by "expert" Speik

Touching the Void
Joe Simpson and Simon Yates- 1985 Touching the Void, Mountain climbers Yates and Simpson are descending a hard route in the Peruvian Andes when Simpson broke his leg and his partner was forced to do the unthinkable: Yates cut the rope between them. Simpson survived the fall. He had fallen into a crevasse but managed to crawl out and crawl back down the glacier and moraines to camp. It took him three and a half agonizing days.

1. What is meant by the term “extreme mountaineering?
Exceptional men and women who attempt to climb remote, high and impossibly steep mountains are doing extreme mountaineering.

2. What inspired Joe Simpson and Simon Yates to climb the Siula Grande?
Siula Grande certainly qualifies as an extreme peak. It is located one days drive from Lima and over two days hike into the Cordillera Huayhuash in the Peruvian Andes. The objective dangers are very significant. The steep ice covered rock of the face is swept by avalanches of powder snow from the almost continual regional snowfall. The fluted ridges of Siula Grande are extremely dangerous, knife sharp and festooned by huge hidden cornices. This mountain has attracted extreme alpinists from around the world. In 2002, Marjan Kovac and Pavle Kozjek (Slovenia) and Aritza Monasterio (Spain) climbed a new route on the northeast face of Siula Grande. For Simpson and Yates this was an affordable, do-able and grand adventure.

Why do mountaineers and explorers undertake extreme adventures? Here are a few reasons taken from the book "Beyond Risk, Conversations with Climbers", by Nichols O’Connell  -  "Because it's there", a throw away reason attributed to Andrew Mallory; for that "delicious queasy feeling in your stomach when you first see the mountain", Willy Unsoeld; because he is "addicted to danger", Jim Wickwire; "in an adventure, there must be the component of the unknown", Walter Bonatti; "Being afraid is part of the whole deal. Fear can be stimulating, you can solve problems. And when you are afraid and have overcome it, it adds to the satisfaction. Without this satisfaction, it might not be worth all the work." Sir Edmund Hillary

3. Can you explain why Simpson and Yates were tied together when they attempted the ascent of such a dangerous mountain?
The mountaineers' rope is the symbol of the shared companionship of the climb according to Jim Frush, alpine climber and President of The American Alpine Club. It is the symbol of a bond between climbing partners. Primarily, however, it is an important tool that when properly used, can facilitate the climbers travel over difficult terrain and minimize their risk from objective dangers that can not be controlled by the climbers' skill, experience and athleticism.

4. How did Joe Simpson injure his leg?
Joe Simpson broke his leg after a short un-belayed fall down a small ice cliff as the pair descended the heavily corniced knife edged ridge following their successful summit bid. The two long bones of his lower leg were driven upward, through his knee joint. The pain was sickening. He immediately feared it was a fatal injury, he and his partner were so high and un-supported on the terrible ridge.

Simpson does not write that he asked for a belay. That being said and as a respectful exercise only, Yates was aware that he was downclimbing a cliff and he could have provided a safe sitting-hip belay in a moment and Simpson would have had an un-eventful dynamic slid to the bottom of the little cliff and not an un-belayed 20 foot fall to a shattered knee..

5. What solution did they come up with to lower Simpson down the mountain?
At first, Yates stamped a trench in the powder snow so that Simpson could drag himself down the easing ridge line. It was slow, painful going. Finally, the two agreed Yates would be able to lower Simpson straight down the snow slope, first for 600 feet then after short traverse, 3,000 feet almost to the Siula glacier and the moraines leading back to their camp. They were climbing with twin 150 foot ropes. When tied together end to end, the rope length could lower Simpson 300 feet straight down the slope. When the first 150 feet had past, Simpson would anchor himself to the snow slope permitting Yates to pass the knot by removing the first rope and re-attaching his belay plate above the knot and continue lowering his partner on the second 150 foot rope. After being lowered 300 feet, Simpson would prepare Yates' belay seat by scooping a hole in the unconsolidated snow while Yates carefully down-climbed the slope. The down-climbing and lowering went slowly but smoothly until darkness fell and heavy falling snow blocked the visibility into the void below them.

6. Why did Simon Yates ultimately cut the rope?
As Yates lowered Simpson straight down the slope into the gloom and falling snow, Simpson slid silently over an unseen ice cliff into the darkness. His full weight came on the rope attached to Yates. Yates continued to lower him slowly, with frost damaged hands gripping the icy rope until the mid point knot came close to the belay plate. Still came no relief from his partner's weight now any signal on the taught rope leading into the Void. Yates began to slip in his unstable belay position as sloughing snow began to fill his belay hole dug in the powder snow. Yates, with frozen hands and being pulled from his seat was unable to accomplish any of several common self rescue techniques that could have been used to pass the knot through the belay plate and continue lowering Simpson the second 150 feet into the darkness. Desperate, he found the knife in his pack and cut the rope that was dragging him down. Freed from the rope, he dug a cave and tried to sleep until daylight. Dehydration and fatigue overcame him. Neither climber had drunk water all that day.

7. What happened to Simpson after the rope was cut?
Simpson fell perhaps 50 feet to powder snow at the foot of the ice cliff and then slid again and fell perhaps another 50 feet onto powder snow in the crevasse or Bergschrund that lay at the foot of the cliff. He anchored himself to the ice wall of the crevasse and tried until daylight to climb up the ice wall. Finally, as daylight came, he decided to rappel down to a possible ledge of snow, below him and out of sight, that might lead to a snow ramp tapering out the end of the crevasse. It was a do-or-die courageous act, because he would not be able to climb back up the rope. It worked! He crawled out the end of the crevasse, saw the footprints of his partner come and go and knew that Yates had given him up for dead. Simpson realized he must save himself. He began to hop and crawl the miles back to camp over crevassed glacier ice and rough bolder strewn moraines, his injured leg hugely swollen and painful. He broke his three-day-long ordeal into short agonizing sections. He reached his companions just hours before the tents were struck. It took more than three days by mule and truck for him to reached a hospital in Lima and another two days before his insurance cleared and his hugely swollen leg could be medically treated!

8. Can you comment on the reaction of the climbing community to Yates’ decision to cut the rope?
The climbing community was guided by Simpson's acceptance of Yates' symbolic decision to cut the rope. Most climbers can not really relate to the conditions these two men endured. Yates writes that he considered trying to hold the frozen rope with his ice cold hand, release the belay plate and pass the knot around the belay plate. He writes that the pressure of the cascading powder snow pushing him out of his belay hole and the condition of his frostbitten hands precluded using this technique. I have not been there or done that.

That being said, and as a respectful exercise only, what if Yates had had a common self rescue prussic loop attached from his harness to the rope beyond the belay plate.  (Simpson used a little prussic loop to try to climb up out of the crevasse.) He would have been able to jamb the prussic loop, easily pass the rope knot around the belay plate in minutes with even one hand  and to lower Simpson (cutting the jammed prussic loop if necessary) the actual 100 feet to the stance at the bottom of the unseen cliff and the crevasse. He could have felt the rope tug signals showing that Simpson was OK, slept the night and climbed down to the lip of the abyss as he did, climbed around the cliff and made his way to the end of the crevasse as he did. Simpson could have popped out of the crevasse like a cork, on belay in the warm sunshine and another climbing epic would have gone un-recorded. (In another context in his book, Simpson refers to the famous account Tony Kurtz who, while dangling over the North Face of the Eiger, was able to fight the frozen rope and jammed knots with one hand for hours with the recently invented prussic knot before he finally died a few feet from safety  - read The White Spider by Heinrich Harrer.) It could be noted too, that Yates retained 150 feet of climbing rope which he later used to save himself by rappelling a final pitch from a remaining ice screw, down to the glacier at the end of the crevasse.

9. Do you think this reaction was justified?
Few climbers are able to comment technically on this particular incident. Fewer still are willing to comment. Most people who express concern are simply expressing the importance of the "bond of commitment" that is symbolized by the climber's rope, tied in to each climber. That being said, the rope is primarily a climbing safety tool, not a simple symbol.

Touching the Void is not the first such epic of broken legs high on a remote peak. Read "Self Help on the Ogre", a chapter in The Mammoth Book of Mountain Disasters, edited by Hamish MacInnes, Carroll and Graf, New York, 2003.

10. Twenty years after his experience on the Siula Grande, Joe Simpson remarked “Gravity is a wonderfully democratic thing. it doesn’t know how good a climber you are once you start falling.” Do you agree?
Sure. There are lots of rueful comments like this: "Gravity does not know how much your equipment cost." "The down side of mountaineering is the elevation gain."

"Sliding down a steep snow slope is like falling straight off a cliff, less the small friction of your clothing and gear". That being said, there are basic technical maneuvers that can possibly instantly stop a fall on steep snow - learned and practiced ice axe self belay and self arrest techniques. Falls on rock can be caught by climbing ropes, anchored literally by nuts and bolts.

Aron Ralston
In April, 2003, a 27 year old climber who was pinned for 5 days under an 800 pound boulder in Utah Canyonlands, amputated his arm to save himself. He used a dull pocketknife and the operation took about an hour. Once free, he rappelled down 60 feet and walked 5 miles before finding help.

1. What are the dangers of climbing alone?
Folks are welcome to do outdoor adventures solo, but they must take into informed consideration the risks to themselves and to the people who may try to rescue them. Climbing together, one climber can belay or spot the other, a partner can administer first aid and then go for help, two heads are better than one when making route decisions, etc.

2. What happened to Aron Ralston in the Utah Canyonlands?
Aron Ralston left his home in Aspen, CO, for an 8 hour, 13 mile adventure in Utah's remote Bluejohn Canyon. During his hike, he dislodged a huge boulder in a slot canyon and it pinned his hand and forearm. After five days, having tried in every way possible to free himself, he was out of water. He made the decision that resonated around the world.

3. How did Ralston free himself?
He cut off the now dead hand and arm below the elbow, applied a tourniquet and bandage to the stump, and made his way toward the remote trail head, setting up an anchor and rappelling 60 feet along the way. He walked out and by chance alone, met two hikers who assisted him and phoned for help. He walked into the hospital emergency room.

4. How would you characterize his “self-rescue?”
Aron Ralston's self rescue was an inspired act of self preservation. However, it is not the first such amputation. In Colorado in 1993, fisherman Bill Jeracki cut off his leg after it became trapped between two boulders while he was fly fishing alone in a remote stream. Jeracki used hemostats from his fishing gear to close the artery and vein in the stump and crawled a half mile back to his truck and drove to find help.

Search and rescue volunteers praised Ralston's ability to keep his head and to do the unthinkable, but expressed concern that he put search and rescue volunteers at risk in the remote and dangerous complexity of the canyons. Ralston had the Essentials and experience needed to survive for five days and walk out to civilization. He had the determination, self-confidence and intellect to save himself. As always, an emergency cell phone might have helped (after he exited the canyon) and should be carried by all, even the most experienced extreme mountaineers.

Mount Hood
In May, 2002, a military helicopter crashed while attempting to rescue climbers. Nine climbers fell into a crevasse. Three were killed and another three were critically injured. Rescue helicopters evacuated two of the injured hikers early on. But as the military rescue chopper was attempting to reach the rest, it crashed and tumbled down the mountain, critically injuring at least one of the five-crew members aboard. The footage is amazing. All those injured were pulled to safety

1. What are the common dangers on Mt. Hood, or any mountain for that matter – man made or natural?
Experience also tells us that a climb to the summit of Mt. Hood is often trivialized and the mountain disrespected. The Episcopal School group disaster on Mount Hood a few years ago is a well known case in point. The girls and boys and their leaders were not prepared and many died. They did not have the proper clothing and equipment and the skills to survive the storm and many died. Their leaders were too goal oriented, hiking into bad weather because they were scheduled to climb and did not have the knowledge and experience to retreat to climb again.

Athleticism and conditioning are not sufficient to prevent a person from becoming disoriented in a white out and disappearing on the slopes and crevasses of the “Mt. Hood Triangle”. Having a map, compass and GPS and the skills to use them, a Cell phone and on Hood, a personal locator device, may violate some “wilderness minimalist ethic”, but the alternative may be costly. Search and Rescue volunteers are there to help and for the excitement of a good rescue, not to search for lost purists.

The climbers should have proper day packs filled with the Ten Essentials, which include special extra clothing options: wind protection, soft shell or hard shell Gore-Tex rain protection, extra insulation, extra hats, a butt pad, three quarts of water (six pounds) and ClifBars or fig-newtons.

2. Do people often underestimate Mt. Hood?
Steep snow slopes demand respect. Steep snow slopes hold dangers that are hidden to the uninformed. Falling on a steep hard snow slope is like falling off a cliff of similar elevation, the speed of falling only slowed slightly by the friction of clothing and gear. The falling climber accelerates to maximum velocity in moments. Experience tells us that simply sitting on angled hard snow can lead to a catastrophic slide in moments. Try this yourself on a short steep slope of hard snow with a clear run out.

Crampons, properly used can improve adhesion to the hard snow slope. Crampons for steep snow slopes must be fitted properly to stiff soled boots. They must be attached so that they are not loose and will not come off.  In soft snow conditions, care must be taken to avoid snow balling up under the boot and preventing the crampon points from touching the snow. Snow balling under the boot can grow to several inches in certain conditions (and this was not the case here). Anti-balling plastic accessories may help. The traditional way is to clear the snow with a blow from the long shaft of the mountaineering ice axe. Special crampons can be fitted to certain trail shoes for use under ideal conditions on the consolidated snows of summer.

A traditional long mountaineering ice axe is the tool used to stop a slide before the almost instant acceleration makes stopping impossible.

This technique is called "self belay". The shaft of the axe is pushed as deeply as possible into the snow, one hand on the head of the axe, the other hand grasping the shaft at the shear line next to the snow. Typical use of this technique would occur if ones feet slipped down slope, enabling a fall to the chest with both hands in proper self belay position on the axe. (This does not appear to have been accomplished.)

A static ice axe "self arrest" position is always taught to novice climbers on Mount Hood and is not hard to learn. But there is much more to learn and practice. A traditional mountaineering ice axe is used for a dynamic self arrest, easy in soft snow on a forgiving slope, all but impossible on hard snow. The traditional climber learns to self arrest with either hand (the axe must be in whichever is the uphill hand at the moment) from head down on chest or back, from feet down on chest or back or sideways on either side. These techniques must be applied automatically, without conscious thought, and can be effective on steep slopes only after a lot of practice under the informed and helpful eye of an instructor or knowledgeable mentoring companion.

If the axe is held in the self belay grasp, (palm on the adze) it will have to be changed to the self arrest grasp (thumb under the adze), automatically, without conscious thought. On appropriate practice slopes, not too steep and in softer snow with a safe runout, one can learn and practice the instant arrest responses required. One can not learn these techniques well in an afternoon class, on the day before a climb. Traditional mountaineers reinforce these automatic skills at the start of every season.

3. If so, why shouldn’t they?
The upper reaches of Mt. Hood become very steep. The skills of roped travel and ice axe arrest should be learned during the period of preparation for such a climb. These skills should be practiced again and again, on easier slopes with a clear run out. The condition of the snow at the moment of passage is the key to a dangerous, too icy or too soft condition, that warrants a cautious return to base. The slip of an inattentive, ill equipped boy in Alaska, caused a fatal fall for a student group down a steep snow slope a few years ago.

The experienced climbers faced the slope in direct descent down the steep hard snow fall line with the axe in the stake position in the traditional mountaineering technique described on page 325, of Mountaineering, The Freedom of The Hills, 7th edition. The snow was very hard. The experienced climbers were "uncomfortable facing out. . .". This face in technique is common and safer and not "different". Perhaps the first man to fall was changing to this much safer direct descent facing in with the axe and hands in the self belay/self arrest position. It appears he toppled over head first down hill. He should not have been in a position to have had this happen. Was he pulled over due to lack of communication within the rope team? We will never know.

Haste, and a feeling of having to keep up, has caused many incidents. Communication and team awareness mitigate this contributing factor to many incidents.

5. What were some of the heroic aspects of the survivors/rescuers on Mt. Hood?
In my opinion, the hero on Mount Hood that day was the pilot of the rescue helicopter, who cut the cable to the victim's stretcher and pulled back from the ridge lest he crash on the rescuers, volunteers and remaining victims who were standing on the Hog Back ridge below the Bergschrund. His helicopter rotor slashed into the snow and the machine began a spectacular slide, rolling several times over a tethered crewmen at the open door before a horrified audience on national television, photographed from the long lenses of several news helicopters which were hovering nearby.

6. What are the repercussions of one false move (like the example on Mt. Hood)?
On the ascent, the strongest, most experienced climber should be first, the less experienced should be last. These rope positions should be reversed on the descent. (It does not appear this traditional mountaineering technique was used.) The uppermost climber must not fall. If the uppermost climber must change position, he must communicate to the climbers below and they must position themselves so as to avoid and belay the possible falling climber. (This does not appear to have been accomplished.)

A climber using traditional techniques can hold a lower companion's slip easily with one hand provided the rope is managed with minimum slack. Even a short fall from above increases the force of a fall dramatically.  A climber in basic self arrest position, typically with the rope running under his chest, can be jerked easily from his position as the upper person flies by or strikes him directly with crampons. (This occurred in this incident.) 

A lead climber (or a follower above, on a down climb) can be belayed quickly, out of the fall line, with the use of any of several simple mountaineering ice axe and rope techniques as described in Freedom of the Hills, 7th Edition, Chapter 16. The upper climber must ask the belaying climber to belay and watch for a fall. (This did not occur.)

Experience tells us that traditional mountaineers do not stay in the fall line of other climbers. There are many climbing lines that can be taken above the Mount Hood Bergschrund. A rope team can climb in echelon with no one directly above another team member. Of course, climbers can wait for others to complete the fall line crux sections. Traditionally, climbers should ask those descending above to "hold" while they complete the section below and move away from the fall line. (This traditional imperative was not respected.)

7. What separates survivors from ordinary people?
The climbers who fell on Mount Hood were ordinary people who fell tangled together at perhaps 30 or 40 miles per hour into a crevasse and smashed into the lower wall of ice. Those on top were able to extricate themselves from this heap of living and dead, crampons and ice axes and climbing ropes improperly used. Those with rescue experience called for assistance and began the necessary triage helping those who could be helped. Many volunteers were soon on the scene as climbers on their way to the summit, ascended to the Hog Back ridge. Trained Search and Rescue volunteers brought up part way by snow-cat and rescue helicopters took over the medical evacuations.

8. How can we put the Mt. Hood event in terms of survival?
The above being said, and as a respectful exercise only, I would equate the climbing incident on Mount Hood to an automobile accident. In my opinion, the hero of this event is the helicopter pilot.

9. What happens when someone starts falling down the mountain – when do they stop falling?
There are many eyewitness accounts of people sliding away, perhaps to be injured and to die. At first they slide slowly, then rapidly pick up speed, often they freeze and fail to try to stop with their ice axe. Perhaps a crampon catches driving their knee into their chest and breaking bones in their leg sending them spinning down. Perhaps they go over a bump and start to tumble. Then they slide at "easily 30 or 40 miles per hour" until they hit trees or rocks below or they go over a cliff and disappear to the glacier below. Sometimes people just slide silently and unseen to their deaths. There are many such accounts in the American Alpine Club's annual publication "Accidents in North American Mountaineering".

Rulon Gardner
Olympic Gold Medal Wrestler Gardner went snowmobiling in February 2002 with friends in the Wyoming back country. He was separated from the group and plunged into icy waters. He became disoriented and stranded overnight. After 17 hours in 5-6 feet of snow, in temperatures from 10-25 degrees below zero, he was rescued. He suffered from severe frostbite and lost a toe. His determination has enabled him to recover well enough to qualify for the 2004 Olympics.

1. What will kill him first, i.e. what are his main obstacles to survival?
Rulon Gardner faced the primary enemy, exposure. Exposure kills more people in the outdoors than any other problem. Frost bite is a related problem that can cost the victim limbs or digits as the body literally shuts down circulation to the extremities to save the core.

2. What are a normal person’s chances of survival? Talk about what kind of person can survive such an ordeal.
Doctors specializing in hypothermia speak about a "Survivors Mentality". Many victims of hypothermia just drift off to sleep and never awaken. Others fight to stay awake keep moving to keep their blood circulating. Read the book "Touching the Void".

3. How can he save himself?
Hypothermia is the cooling of the body gradually to the point of unconsciousness and death. The body gains heat from digesting food in a hydrated body and from large muscle contractions. The body looses heat from conduction, convection, evaporation, radiation and heavy breathing. Rulon should eat his emergency food and drink his emergency water or Gatorade, keep moving his muscles including periodically removing his tight boots and massaging his feet and toes, insulate himself from the snow by staying on the snowmobile, and wind, dry any sopping wet nylon and pile insulating layer clothing by wringing and shaking the water out, seek protection from the wind and sky with wind and rain proof Gortex outer clothing and a $20 emergency bivy sack, and breath carefully through layers of cloth such as a scarf or balaclava.

4. He is an Olympic champion wrestler, a big, beefy guy, with the mental stamina of a world-class athlete. What do each of these qualities this do for his chances of survival?
Rulon Gardner had a better chance of avoiding hypothermia and frost bite than the average person. Moving his large muscles would generate heat; his capillaries suffused his trained tissues with blood to a greater degree than an untrained individual.

5. What happens to your mind and body as hypothermia sets in?
Hypothermia follows a predictable path. First, the individual starts uncontrolled shivering. His dexterity is impaired. He can not hike safely or handle gear properly. He can not think well and may deny he is in trouble. Then his circulation to his extremities begins to shut down and he becomes very lethargic. To sleep is to die.

Analysis of this incident: How could Rulon's companions allow him or any of their party, to become separated from the group snowmobiling in February in the Wyoming backcountry? Did the group fall into a "contest mentality" and the devil take the hindmost? Were his tracks covered by falling snow? All the more reason to ride together; traditional mountaineers have learned to stay together. Did he have Essential survival gear including extra food and water, extra clothing, shelter, map compass and GPS, etc. on his snowmobile? Did he carry a snow shovel? Did he know how to build a snow cave around or under his snowmachine? If not, why not? To be prepared for an emergency stop or over night is a Basic Responsibility of every wilderness traveler. Did Rulon have a cell phone or inexpensive handy talky radio to contact his companions? If not why not? Did Rulon have a basic knowledge of hypothermia avoidance? Did he know how to avoid frost bite by periodically removing his boots to massage his feet. I find no mention of such basic outdoor knowledge in the news accounts.

I remember being inspired as Rulon Gardner won his Gold Medal at the last Olympics. If he will contact me, I would like to ask him these questions and more. Then I can  pass the information along so that we can all learn from this incident. I wish him well in the 2004 Olympics!  --Robert Speik, Webmeister.
Copyright© 2004 - 2012 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.





Warning: Traditional Mountaineering is an inherently dangerous sport!

Read more . . .
Touching the Void, a book review
The White Spider by Heinrich Harrer
Aron Ralston
Fall from the summit of Mount Hood
Slip on snow on Brokentop
pdf file
Carboration and hydration in aerobic mountaineering    pdf file
How do you lean to self arrest?
Understanding avalanche risk
What is a dulphersitz rappel?
How do you self belay a rappel?
What is the best harness?
What gear do you rack on your harness?

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South, Middle and North Sister and Broken Top photographed from just 20 miles west of Bend Oregon.
Photo Copyright© 2004 - 2012 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.