Logo Jim Frankenfield
jim@mountain-guiding.com; 1-877-604-0166

Mountain Guiding; Mountain Safety
An Experienced Professional

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Guiding Newsletter

"Safety Soapbox" Archive - July 2000


Preparation and Training

The first aspect of safety is to avoid accidents. However, if you spend enough time over enough years in a dangerous environment an accident of some severity is likely. So the second aspect is being prepared to handle this, and hopefully to keep it manageable if possible.

After being hit by the rockfall on Mt Hoods Sandy Glacier Headwall (or traversing to it, actually) we were able to handle the situation as well as possible. Several things were helpful here. First, we had identified a safe area upon rounding Yokum Ridge. This meant that we wasted no time after the rockfall stopped. I was only able to travel until the adrenaline ceased to overcome the shock, and we barely made it to a safe spot. We could not have afforded to waste time deciding what to do or where to go. Second, we had enough medical training and basic supplies to stabilize our injuries without any panic. We spent five hours on this before calling for outside assistance, to be certain we weren't doing so unnecessarily. Finally, we had two different types of communication capability. Redundancy is good in many locations. (See the July 2000 Accident Analysis for a situation where communications were not possible.)

We were fortunate not to face any technical transportation challenges on steep terrain. No raising or lowering was required, which was good since we had been in an exposed area when we were hit. But if it had been necessary both of us had the training to do this.

So in addition to learning to assess and minimize risk to a level acceptable to you it is also important to acquire as many tools as possible to handle an emergency. Because the risk is never zero.


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