Forum Index > Trail Talk > Avalanche death on St. Helens
 Reply to topic
Previous :: Next Topic
Author Message
thunderhead
Member
Member


Joined: 14 Oct 2015
Posts: 1519 | TRs | Pics
thunderhead
Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 6:33 am 
Thats a fall where you are probably, but not certainly, dead. Its not quite vertical enough in some places to be utterly unsurvivable. I suggest not testing the theory.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
idoru
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Feb 2023
Posts: 115 | TRs | Pics
Location: Portland-ish
idoru
Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 7:08 am 
thunderhead wrote:
I suggest not testing the theory.
Welp, there go my weekend plans. frown.gif

thunderhead
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
altasnob
Member
Member


Joined: 29 Aug 2007
Posts: 1408 | TRs | Pics
Location: Tacoma
altasnob
Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 7:13 am 
turboag12 wrote:
Unfortunately, he may have gotten too complacent
As others have noted, there are places on the rim where one can walk right up to the edge of it safely. They are areas supported by earth below where no cornice has formed. The only way to safely approach these spots is to walk way out to the side, look back, and memorize exactly where these spots are. I assume the two experienced climbers who perished had visited these safer vantage points previously and probably figured they knew where they were without taking the time to safely scout their approach route to the rim. Another example of the more experienced and knowledgeable you are, the more likely you are to die, which tends to prove so true in backcountry travel.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
altasnob
Member
Member


Joined: 29 Aug 2007
Posts: 1408 | TRs | Pics
Location: Tacoma
altasnob
Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 7:21 am 
solohiker wrote:
if a cornice fall didnít trigger an avalanche the skier would have had a decent chance of survival.
I can't imagine that it was the avalanche that killed him (killing him through asphyxiation or trauma). And I doubt the weight of the cornice bludgeoned him as well (it would have been falling at exactly his speed). The death was likely the result of falling down something 1,500 feet high, and the trauma inflicted from that. If it was deeper powdery snow (and no rock cliff faces to bounce off) he might have a chance. Paradise telemetry might be the closest telemetry as the MSH summit. At Paradise, they got approximately 15 inches of snow from 3/26 to early morning 3/29 (accident was either late 3/29 or early 3/30). This snow fell on a firm base. I doubt MSH got as much snow as Paradise, so maybe a foot of powder on a firm base on the north side of MSH on the date of the accident (not deep enough to help him survive but also not deep enough to cause a massive burying avalanche). This clueless Australian accidentally free fell 250 ft off a cliff at Grand Targhee ski area and survived this year (total fall 1,000 ft). This guy survived an accidental 500 ft fall in Whistler backcountry. I remember in John Krauker's Eiger Dreams he talks about a guy who fell several thousand feet on the Eiger and survived (can't find the details on this event).

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
ale_capone
Member
Member


Joined: 22 Sep 2009
Posts: 720 | TRs | Pics
ale_capone
Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 7:22 am 
If the cornice breaks beneath you, it stays beneath. . Doesnt matter how much it weighs.. As long as its not cliff's and rocks,, 45į is not that bad. The added snow can even help lessen impacts. I know this from experience.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Randito
Snarky Member



Joined: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 9513 | TRs | Pics
Location: Bellevue at the moment.
Randito
Snarky Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 9:52 am 
idoru wrote:
Randito wrote:
It is delusional to think such a fall is survivable.
Is it, though?
Quote:
The cornice [on the Helens summit] broke loose and Slemp dropped about 150 feet. His son began to slide down with him until their friend grabbed him and pulled him back to safety. The elder Slemp landed on a snow bank, but when he stood to climb back up the crater, the shelf of snow crumbled beneath him and he tumbled about 1,300 feet further down the crater, riding a tidal wave of avalanche debris on his hands and knees. At 5:20 p.m. PT, the sheriff's office received a phone call that a man had fallen off the crater rim but was up and moving around.
Sounds like a combination of his snowmobile suit and luck with where he landed are what kept him alive. https://abcnews.go.com/WN/story?id=4651579&page=1
Your argument is sort of like the old argument against wearing seat belts -- because there is an occasional car collision where the driver is "thrown clear" and the car bursts into flame. Sure if you get lucky you might survive -- but that would certainly be considered "a near miss" Personally, I feel like I've already used up my "good luck" after hitting a car head on at 70mph while riding my motorcycle and escaped with just a broken wrist and no injuries to the people in the car my bike struck (I missed the car) I was young and stupid back then. Also when I was young and stupid I have twice triggered very small avalanches and been taken for a ride -- one ride resulted in me tomahawking a considerable distance. The amount of snow was small enough that there was no risk of burial. In general -- especially with the heavy snow in the PNW is that even if you don't get buried by an avalanche -- it is going to lay a beating on you. My policy now is "No new scare tissue" and "Always strive to make new mistakes -- not repeat the old ones"

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
idoru
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Feb 2023
Posts: 115 | TRs | Pics
Location: Portland-ish
idoru
Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 11:01 am 
Randito wrote:
Your argument is sort of like the old argument against wearing seat belts -- because there is an occasional car collision where the driver is "thrown clear" and the car bursts into flame. Sure if you get lucky you might survive -- but that would certainly be considered "a near miss"
I... don't have an argument, though? You said it's delusional to think someone could survive such a fall, and all I did was point out that it's happened before, and speculated as to what could've helped them survive. By no means have I suggested that folk should hang out on cornices under any kind of circumstances (stating something is possible doesn't mean it's an endorsement). I'm not sure what kind of argument you think I'm trying to make. confused.gif

philfort, ale_capone
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Cyclopath
Faster than light



Joined: 20 Mar 2012
Posts: 7740 | TRs | Pics
Location: Seattle
Cyclopath
Faster than light
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 11:08 am 
ale_capone wrote:
If the cornice breaks beneath you, it stays beneath. . Doesnt matter how much it weighs..

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Chief Joseph
Member
Member


Joined: 10 Nov 2007
Posts: 7709 | TRs | Pics
Location: Verlot-Priest Lake
Chief Joseph
Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 11:54 am 
There was also a guy a few years ago that fell to the bottom of the crater and was still alive but died from exposure.

Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Gil
Member
Member


Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 4062 | TRs | Pics
Gil
Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 12:48 pm 
All this arguing about whether avalanche or cornice fall is appropriate! Too much time on your hands.

Friends help the miles go easier. Klahini
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Starr.nathan
nstar



Joined: 02 Apr 2024
Posts: 1 | TRs | Pics
Location: Olympia
Starr.nathan
nstar
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 12:54 pm 
The footsteps in the photos make me want to bite my nails. An NWAC observation from the same day the 30th doesn't have the footsteps; the drone pictures might have been from later in the day when it got a little cloudy. We camped out on the 30th and went up on the 31st. From marks at the edge of the rim and the photo below it looked like he fell a little to climbers right of where most people hang out at the rim. I usually go far to climbers right where the cornice is usaully smaller and sometimes you can get right to the edge when rocks are showing (funner for me than going to the true summit). When you go to the right you can look up to the main hang out area and usually see a few folks hanging out over air. I've never seen the cornice as thin as in the picture from the 30th.

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Randito
Snarky Member



Joined: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 9513 | TRs | Pics
Location: Bellevue at the moment.
Randito
Snarky Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 1:36 pm 
idoru wrote:
You said it's delusional to think someone could survive such a fall, and all I did was point out that it's happened before, and speculated as to what could've helped them survive.
See definition 2 of delusional
Quote:
de∑lu∑sion∑al /dəˈlo͞oZH(ə)nəl/ adjective adjective: delusional characterized by or holding false beliefs or judgments about external reality that are held despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, typically as a symptom of a mental condition. "hospitalization for schizophrenia and delusional paranoia" based on or having faulty judgment; mistaken. "their delusional belief in the project's merits never wavers"
So in your book -- what percentage of people need to survive a cornice collapse of Mt St Helens for to be rational to believe you would survive? By my count there have been more than three fatal incidents and you've indicated that you know of one case that was not fatal. So when the odds are 3:1 in favor of death -- you say that thinking you'll survive is rational ?

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
idoru
Member
Member


Joined: 02 Feb 2023
Posts: 115 | TRs | Pics
Location: Portland-ish
idoru
Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 2:29 pm 
At this point, it feels like 75% of this thread needs to be moved to a different sub-forum into a thread called "Semantics". Look - all I said was that it's not outside the realm of possibility. I made no argument, and as I've said, I did not suggest that the fact that someone survived should be looked at as a reason to take risks. You said it's delusional to think it could happen, and all I said was that, surprisingly enough (because it was certainly a surprise to me), it can happen. In the interest of self-improvement, and in keeping firmly with the theme of semantics that this thread seems to love, perhaps I chose the phrase, "Is it, though?" too flippantly and could choose my words better next time. Just to make sure I'm being clear: Don't ever f'ing walk on cornices under any circumstances. Simple as. I'm not sure why this is getting turned into a debate.

Cyclopath, Chief Joseph, solohiker, RumiDude
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
Randito
Snarky Member



Joined: 27 Jul 2008
Posts: 9513 | TRs | Pics
Location: Bellevue at the moment.
Randito
Snarky Member
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 2:51 pm 
idoru wrote:
At this point, it feels like 75% of this thread needs to be moved to a different sub-forum into a thread called "Semantics". Look - all I said was that it's not outside the realm of possibility. I made no argument, and as I've said, I did not suggest that the fact that someone survived should be looked at as a reason to take risks. You said it's delusional to think it could happen, and all I said was that, surprisingly enough (because it was certainly a surprise to me), it can happen. In the interest of self-improvement, and in keeping firmly with the theme of semantics that this thread seems to love, perhaps I chose the phrase, "Is it, though?" too flippantly and could choose my words better next time. Just to make sure I'm being clear: Don't ever f'ing walk on cornices under any circumstances. Simple as. I'm not sure why this is getting turned into a debate.
It seems that you are the one that started the "semantics" argument with your questioning my use of the term "delusional" in terms of evaluating the risk of death from a a cornice fall from Mt St Helens -- arguing that because there was a non-zero chance of survival the term delusional was not the correct word. So what word would you use to decrcibe the thought process that would enable someone to walk out on a cornice thinking they will be OK even if it collapses ?

Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
RumiDude
Marmota olympus



Joined: 26 Jul 2009
Posts: 3590 | TRs | Pics
Location: Port Angeles
RumiDude
Marmota olympus
PostTue Apr 02, 2024 2:54 pm 
idoru wrote:
At this point, it feels like 75% of this thread needs to be moved to a different sub-forum into a thread called "Semantics".
"Pedantic Semantics" Rumi. <~~~~~delusional pedant

"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."

Cyclopath  idoru
Back to top Reply to topic Reply with quote Send private message
   All times are GMT - 8 Hours
 Reply to topic
Forum Index > Trail Talk > Avalanche death on St. Helens
  Happy Birthday Lead Dog, dzane, The Lead Dog, Krummholz!
Jump to:   
Search this topic:

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum