Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Climbing and skiing, and advice on cell phone use

If you haven't noticed, few posts means lots of work and activity here at Mount Rainier. The weather has remained stellar over much of the past week and things have been busy. During this period, climbers and skiers have been tackling the mountain from all directions. Of particular interest are new and extensive reports for Liberty Ridge, Ptarmigan Ridge and the Fuhrer Finger (photos included).

It seems that a few people are just itching to be rescued or call 911. We've had a number of "alarms" or "callouts" over the past few weeks, thankfully nothing has been serious! That said, one callout is in progress and involves a 2 person team pinned down in a whiteout on Liberty Ridge near 13,700 feet. We suspect that they will be fine, as they are well prepared for 2 more days on the mountain. As a reminder, if you carry a cell phone, make SURE you call 911 during an incident or emergency, not your family members.

On the other hand, two separate teams had somewhat serious accidents but self-rescued. Neither of those teams used a cell phone to alert friends. One incident involved the skier who fell 300 feet on the Emmons Glacier last weekend. A more recent event involved a 2 person team on the Kautz Glacier. One member dislocated his shoulder while descending (balled up crampons). As a reminder, we're still working on that streak of NO NEW MAJOR RESCUES since 2005. We hope to continue this trend...

First photo is by Josh Farris near 12k on Ptarmigan Ridge; the second is of a climber on Liberty Ridge by Dmitry Shapvalov.