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Rescues on Mt. Baldy

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:43 pm
by Ellen
Howdy All,

First the tragic death and now 10 airlift rescues yesterday due to icy conditions:

http://www.pe.com/articles/baldy-793783 ... flown.html

What is particularly unsettling is that folks were slipping on the ice even with crampons and ice-axes :shock:

Be careful out there friends.

Miles of smiles,
Ellen

Re: Rescues on Mt. Baldy

PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:22 pm
by Wildhorse
I think the number of rescues shows how many fools imagine that they are mountain climbers, but are really just fools wearing crampons and carrying ice axes. It is like all the pot-bellied fools wearing racing clothing and riding racing bikes in the bike lanes on suburban roadways.

I would think rescuing fools would be demoralizing to the rescue workers.

Re: Rescues on Mt. Baldy

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:26 am
by Cy Kaicener
Deadly fall for second hiker after trails closed
http://www.pe.com/articles/mount-793823 ... ikers.html

Re: Rescues on Mt. Baldy

PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:59 pm
by zippetydude
Given that a bazillion people had to be airlifted out, it seems to me that the freeze/thaw cycle combined with beautiful weather created something of a "perfect storm" of dangerous icy conditions that were probably not evident until it was too late. I've only slipped a couple times on ice, but neither time was I taking wild chances, and both times scared the heck out of me. It's not obvious that ice, being almost friction free, allows you to accelerate as quickly as it does. In just 3 seconds, you will have traveled almost 200 feet and will be going around 65 mph. That's already unsurvivable unless there is a long, smooth runout that lets you slow gradually...which is almost never the case.

Hopefully we'll get a bunch more snow soon and these conditions will be erased. Til then, I don't think it's a bad idea at all to close the trails temporarily.

z

Re: Rescues on Mt. Baldy

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:00 am
by Ed
zippetydude wrote:In just 3 seconds, you will have traveled almost 200 feet and will be going around 65 mph.


Zip,

Do you have a source for those numbers? My vertical free-fall calculations give 145 feet and 65 mph in 3 seconds. Multiply those numbers by 0.5 for a frictionless 30 degree slope.

OK, what the hell, I am a retired professional nitpicker. You are absolutely right, fall on ice and you are off like a rocket. And a rocket pointing down, not up. And I think the trees and exposed rocks in our local mountains can make a fall more dangerous than on some classic snow climbs.

The 2014 edition of Accidents in North American Mountaineering has a nice introductory section on snow climbing. Snow climbing, not ice climbing. It makes the point that while self-arrest skills are important, if you do much snow climbing you are probably going to find yourself in times and places where a self-arrest is not likely to be successful. And, I might add, due to the variability of snow conditions it can be on a route that you have done before and thought was a milk run.

I wish our local accidents had published analysis similar to what is found in AINAM. I think there was a reference there to privacy laws making it more difficult.

Re: Rescues on Mt. Baldy

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:46 am
by Wildhorse
Just to keep things in perspective:

A Tesla with twin engines accelerates faster than that.

Re: Rescues on Mt. Baldy

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:21 pm
by zippetydude
Hi Ed. I just did the math in my head, figuring acceleration due to gravity at 32 feet per second per second, thinking some time in the 3 second range (in other words from 3 to 4 seconds) and leaning towards the lower number (96 fps) rather than the higher (128 fps) so that I wouldn't have to go to the trouble of lessening the acceleration due to it being on a slope as opposed to a vertical drop.

My brain was already annoyed with me for trying to mentally calculate 96 fps * 3600 / 5280 (which translated to "about 350,000 divided by a little more than 5000, so something a little less than 70...say 65 mph"). There was a bit of rounding in the process, but it seems like you took it how I meant it anyway. I don't mind the playing with the numbers to get things accurate, though. The math is fun either way, as a rough approximation or as a more precise calculation.

What amazes me is how even a simple fall on flat ground can seem to slam me to the earth. I have twice broken my wrist in falls from almost zero elevation (my feet were on the ground just prior to the fall). That's not a lot of room for acceleration and I would think such a fall would end with a very low speed, but it was enough to break a bone.

z

Re: Rescues on Mt. Baldy

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:56 am
by Ed
zippetydude wrote:Hi Ed. I just did the math in my head, ...


Zip,

I cheated, used the calculator.

zippetydude wrote:I have twice broken my wrist in falls from almost zero elevation ...


Amen. I am the poster boy here, fractured humerus from slipping on a patch of ice in my own driveway.

Ed

Re: Rescues on Mt. Baldy

PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 3:18 pm
by Ellen
Bump