Broken Top - Fall on Snow - NW Ridge
September 19, 1999
This is the report from the 2000 edition of
FALL ON HARD SNOW, INEXPERIENCE
On September 19 in the Three Sisters Wilderness area, Bonnie Lamb (39) was ascending a volcanic talus and scree ridge on Broken Top when she came to a short, steep section of surface-softened hard-snow near the 9,175 south summit. She slipped and rocketed about 300 yards down the slope coming to a stop in the rough scree below. Unconscious for 15 minutes and with a severely injured scalp and nose, she was aided by climber Vince Hudson, a former medic, who described her fall as follows: "Originally she was sliding just flat. Then she went over a rock ledge and started to tumble, head over heels, and started picking up speed. Then she went over another ledge and I could see her head hit it. I couldn't believe how fast she was going. It was just like you throw a Raggedy Ann doll off a cliff. She seemed [to be going] 60 to 70 mph easy."
Surface-softened hard-snow slopes have claimed many innocent victims. An ice ax quickly used could have stopped the initial slide. Modern ultralight ice axes are a good companion on spring hikes and climbs. Had somebody not witnessed her fall, she might not have survived.
(Source: Robert Speik)