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Responsible climber slips on steep hard snow, phones his GPS location to 911

The primary purpose of these experience reports and the Annual Report of Accidents in North American Mountaineering is to aid in the prevention of accidents.

Roger Wall writes: “I stepped on an ice patch near the top of the face of McArthur Rim and slid approximately 125 feet down a small glacier and landed on some rocks sustaining a left foot fracture and separated shoulder. I managed to relocate the shoulder and proceeded to “crawl” down the mountain backwards for approximately 45 minutes. Subsequently some of the shale rock surface that I was on broke loose and I started falling again, as I reached for a tree to arrest myself, I then dislocated and broke my shoulder."

"I was now unable to move and I located my cell phone in my pack and miraculously it worked and I was able to call for help".

"I was able to give them my location using my GPS coordinates and a paramedic team arrived approximately two hours later to begin the rescue. Another eight Search and Rescue volunteers were called in to carry me to where the helicopter was able to land. Subsequently a rescue helicopter transported me to St. Charles Medial Center in Bend.” 

Analysis of Accident: What knowledge and techniques will help prevent future accidents?
Roger Wall states: “Staying on terrain that is acceptable to your ability is certainly advisable. Hiking with a partner is also a must. Carrying a cell phone is also something that was extremely helpful along with the GPS”

Additional Comments
This hiking/climbing accident illustrates the danger of steep Spring slopes in the volcanic Cascades, and the benefits of gps and cell phones in the event of an injury and stranding. Roger is recovering well from his serious injuries.
Report filed by Robert Speik for inclusion in the 56th edition of ANAM, year 2003
Copyright© 2002 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved.




Read more:
American Alpine Club
Oregon Section of the AAC
Accidents in North American Mountaineering

Four Basic Responsibilities
Ten Essential Systems
GPS, map and compass  11 pdf pages!