Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Early July

The first week of July has brought lots of action to the mountain. We've had three major rescues, a handful of carry-outs, and plenty of minor injuries to keep us busy.

On Wednesday, July 1st, our co-worker and friend Sam was hurt while skiing on the Emmons Glacier. His surgery on Saturday went smoothly and he was discharged from the hospital Monday. Our thoughts are with Sam and his long road through rehabilitation.

Saturday an independent climbing team was traversing onto the Disappointment Cleaver when one of the team members was struck by falling rock. His party was able to walk him back to Camp Muir. He was treated and then flown off by helicopter on Saturday morning.

Saturday night a different independent climbing team ascended the Kautz Glacier route to the summit. They decided to bivy around 13,000' on their descent when one of their party members began showing signs of HAPE. His condition worsened overnight and the party decided to traverse over to the DC route and descend to Camp Muir for help. High winds prevented transport via helicopter. Rangers and guides assisted in helping the party and injured climber down to Paradise where he was transferred to the hospital by ambulance. [ed.: HAPE is a life-threatening condition for which the immediate action is descent as rapidly and efficiently as possible].

With all of the injuries this last week we're stressing safety. Please be careful on the mountain. Use conservative judgment when putting yourself into a committed situation. Historically mid-July has held the best chance of success for climbers attempting to summit, but the possibility of rapid storm development and the changing physical conditions on the route, compounded by altitude, should always be paramount in a climber's mind.

However, with both the Emmons and DC still in great shape it's a good time to climb. Come on up and enjoy the best season on the mountain!