Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Scrambling Dangers

Here is an article based on an interview with Brent Kozachenko about some of the recent accidents scrambling in the Park. The last one apparently was in June!

Prairie Post Link

The knife edge route on Crandell seems to get quite a few rescues. It is a gorgeous and obvious ridge that seems to suck people into getting over committed. To that once people get spooked on the first knife edge they tend to bail off to the climbers right (east) and then get hang up on some slabs with undercuts at their base. If you haven't heard someone relate an epic about this, just ask - it doesn't sound like fun.

I haven't heard of too many rescues off Galwey or Blakiston. I suspect the difficulties just aren't sustained enough to lead to the anxiety that gets people into trouble on Crandell. Even the harder scrambles like Dungarvan and any of the ridges north of Red Rock just don't have the sustained nature to get people quivering enough that they get scared to move. It also doesn't seem like any of the alpine routes in the park get rookies on them.

Back when I used to work at Tamarack mall in the late 80's we used to hear of a few people getting rescued off the face of the hump. That really has seemed to change in the last few decades. I remember meeting one odd fellow who only would head up the face of the hump with crampons! Apparently he felt he could stand on smaller edges with them than with hiking books or climbing shoes! He also related a story of getting rescued off the face because he got too scared to down climb and couldn't even turn around to get properly set up for going down. If that sounds strange to you - you can just imagine what his skill and judgement levels were like.

So time to let the old rumors of stupid rescues fly.

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At 8/07/2009 11:31:00 AM , Blogger sigob said...

A good site for some more info on scrambling dangers and rating is at

One of the general gists is that "difficult" scrambles are better considered easy alpine climbs. People get into trouble because they think a difficult scramble will be feasible whether or not they have had practice getting used to technical 5th class climbing or the mental game associated with free soloing routes of 3rd, 4th or easy 5th class.


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