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 - November 2000


Rescuer and Scene Safety

In the last issue I mentioned an accident on Mt Washington (Oregon). I later learned a bit more about this, including the rescue.

The climbers were first discovered by people from a nearby youth camp on Big Lake. Numerous people came up from the camp onto steep scree and talus slopes. While their intentions were good they were not prepared to mount a rescue operation, created an atmosphere of confusion and haste, and put themselves at some risk. In fact, there was a broken wrist or ankle resulting from a fall by one of these people on the rocky slope.

The most important thing in any emergency situation is not to compound it by involving any additional people. Stop, make a plan, get organized. This is certainly not as easy as it sounds when you are anxious to help somebody, but it pays off in the end.

In this case a climber headed for the same route which the accident occurred on came upon the scene. He happened to be a very active member of Eugene Mountain Rescue which was fortunate for the injured climbers. Another piece of good fortune was that Deschutes Mountain Rescue was practicing somewhere nearby. Since an air evacuation was clearly necessary and the first rescuer on the scene had things under control the main task of Deschutes Mountain Rescue became handling the disarray of the camp responders and getting them safely out of the area. So even in an organized rescue a major function can be securing the scene and preventing well intentioned people from getting injured themselves.


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