Sliding Fall. Glissading Hillman’s Highway

The victim snowshoed up Hillman’s Highway and attempted to glissade down when he lost control. He took a long, high-speed fall the length of the gully, hitting rocks along the way. He suffered a dislocated shoulder and numerous abrasions to the face and his left side. He was treated by members of the Mount Washington Volunteer Ski Patrol. He was able to walk to Pinkham on his own. This incident took 2 people 1 hour.

The previous day we received rain on the snowpack which then froze overnight. Conditions in Hillman’s Highway were very hardpack, icy and unforgiving. Skiers and riders should think twice about venturing onto slopes when conditions are such that without an ice axe you will not be able to stop a fall. One of the victims that fell was wearing snowshoes. Snowshoes are great for deep snow in rolling terrain but they are not intended for steep icy gully climbing. The snowshoe crampon system is designed to float over snow, not ice climb. Having the appropriate equipment for the terrain is essential for being safe in the mountains. Know your equipment, the advantages and limitations before you venture out into the backcountry.