Crevasse Rescue

Saturday–Sunday, June 18–19, 2011
Leader: Steve Still

Most climbers met at 6:00am Saturday at the South Eugene High School parking lot to car pool, while several traveled separately. A total of eighteen climbers convened at 9:30am at the Wy'East Lodge at Mt. Hood, despite the cold driving rain that greeted us. Loaded with packs and gear we hiked up into the snow fields north and east of Timberline Lodge. We found a suitable practice area with a steep drop-off that served to simulate a crevasse edge and also as somewhat of a wind break. The first order was a review demonstration of snow anchors and belay techniques. Then four teams of 4 were formed and they practiced anchors and belays together repeatedly. The teams then practiced roping up together, traveling out on the snow field, arresting the end climber's "fall" over the "crevasse" edge, setting anchors, and rescuing that climber using the Z pulley system. This was done repeatedly until each team member had rotated through each position on the rope. There was no formal lunch break and folks grabbed snacks as they practiced. The driving rain never relented and by mid-afternoon most everyone was soaked and getting pretty cold. So the day was called and everyone hiked back and re-gathered in the cafeteria at Wy'East to warm up and debrief. John Mowat had gracioulsy volunteered to hike up onto the White River Glacier to scout crevasses we could use for Sunday's practice. White-out conditions, however, had prevented this. Therefore, because we didn't know where we'd get to practice Sunday, it was still raining and a next-day let-up was uncertain, and because it was highly unlikely anyone's gear would dry out overnight at camp, it was decided to cancel the 2nd day of practice. So the group re-convened for a hot meal at the Ice Axe Grill in Government Camp, then folks drove their separate ways home. It was unfortunate we were unable to practice in a real crevasse, but everyone learned a lot praciticing the various skills, and the rain and cold were a sobering reminder of the real mountain conditions we can encounter on expeditions.

Members: Sue Sullivan, Steve Still, Shellie Robertson, Sean Breslin, Brian Hamilton, Randy Sinnott, Danneille Harris, Marci Hansen, Wayne Deeter, Doug Orwick, Richard Lemon, Susan Hutchinson Carey, Beth Machamer. Nonmembers: Rick Harris, Jason Rice, Tim Thoren, Mike Taormina, Thomas Baldwin.

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