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Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain National

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.
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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby atalarico » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:47 am

I'm wondering about the Andrews Glacier incident. There's a lot of great alpine climbing up there and it sounds like they might have been coming down from that. =(

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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby Brian C » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:48 am

We saw this guy making a bee-line over Flattop yesterday in the general direction of Lumpy. I wondered what was going on. RIP.

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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby ChrisRoberts » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:00 am

Yeah with so little snowpack and lots of warm temperatures this summer, Andrews is probably a lot less friendly than usual in mid July. I'm guessing ice is already showing. RIP

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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby mikem0687 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:33 am

I was up at Andrews glacier last week and I was surprised to see so many people glissading down from the Divide. I saw a family of three (adult and two teenagers) sliding down, and none had an ice axe for self-arrest, although the adult had trekking poles, the two teenagers were using their hands to slide down. Later in the day i saw more people glissading down the glacier during a lightning storm. I think people do not realize that what they are sliding down is an actual glacier with crevasses and large boulders.

Sad to hear about that guy though.

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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby atalarico » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:38 am

mikem0687 wrote: I think people do not realize that what they are sliding down is an actual glacier with crevasses and large boulders.


I was wondering that. I hear the term "glacier" get thrown around in Colorado, but my understanding was that there aren't any bone fide glaciers left in the state, just permanent snow fields. True? I only wondered this as some friends and I were looking to take out FOTH and practice glacier rescue and travel techniques.

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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby Brian C » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:44 am

atalarico wrote:
mikem0687 wrote: I think people do not realize that what they are sliding down is an actual glacier with crevasses and large boulders.


I was wondering that. I hear the term "glacier" get thrown around in Colorado, but my understanding was that there aren't any bone fide glaciers left in the state, just permanent snow fields. True? I only wondered this as some friends and I were looking to take out FOTH and practice glacier rescue and travel techniques.


There are a few but they're small and generally don't have crevasses. Here's a shot I took yesterday of the crevasse on Tyndall Glacier in RMNP opening up. Fair Glacier in the IPW can open up to block passage late in the season too.

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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby Scott P » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:46 am

I hear the term "glacier" get thrown around in Colorado, but my understanding was that there aren't any bone fide glaciers left in the state, just permanent snow fields. True?


There are some thing in Colorado called glaciers that are really just snowfields (i.e. St Marys Glacier), but there are genuine small glaciers or glacierettes. There are (usually small) crevasses in the glaciers as well. Fair Glacier, for example sometimes has a rather (by Colorado standards) large one.

Some "rock glaciers" in Colorado (and neighboring states) may actually be actual glaciers, but buried under rocks and talus. Examples of such possible rock covered glaciers are The Dove on Longs Peak and the Timp Glacier on Mount Timpanogos (UT). Sometimes most or all the surface snow/ice melts, but there may be glacial ice buried under the talus.
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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby Dave B » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:58 am

atalarico wrote:
mikem0687 wrote: I think people do not realize that what they are sliding down is an actual glacier with crevasses and large boulders.


I was wondering that. I hear the term "glacier" get thrown around in Colorado, but my understanding was that there aren't any bone fide glaciers left in the state, just permanent snow fields. True? I only wondered this as some friends and I were looking to take out FOTH and practice glacier rescue and travel techniques.


I've heard that the Arapaho glacier is a true glacier (i.e. flowing). Of course it's the only one climbers aren't allowed on.
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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby jsdratm » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:30 am

mikem0687 wrote:I was up at Andrews glacier last week and I was surprised to see so many people glissading down from the Divide. I saw a family of three (adult and two teenagers) sliding down, and none had an ice axe for self-arrest, although the adult had trekking poles, the two teenagers were using their hands to slide down. Later in the day i saw more people glissading down the glacier during a lightning storm. I think people do not realize that what they are sliding down is an actual glacier with crevasses and large boulders.

Sad to hear about that guy though.


Last year when I was out at Andrews Glacier to try out my ice axe and crampons, I also saw people going up without any kind of traction or ice axe. It was very icy and slippery, plus very steep, so I wouldn't want to mess about on it. Even with my crampons I felt a bit uncomfortable since it was my first glacier hike.

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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby Bethie » Fri Jul 13, 2012 11:32 am

On Tuesday I did a snow climb with my friend Wayne of the Middle Ptarmigan Finger on N Face of Flattop Mtn (my first one over 50 degrees!) then ascended Otis Peak. We then descended Andrews Glacier measured at 30-35 degrees. There were many people glissading including families although none moved too fast as the snow was pretty mushy around 12:30pmish. We were the only ones with ice axes though. Very sad about this tragedy.
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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby cougar » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:39 pm

Andrews Glacier is typically around 20-25 degrees. Hump in the center a bit steeper. I've been up and down it a few times, just microspikes going up, and didn't think it was a big deal, but this dry winter/low snowpack may have exposed some spots. I've heard of crevasses showing there in low snow years like 2002, but haven't seen any.
Usually there's a good runout and you don't slide for long.

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Re: Fatality among multiple incidents in Rocky Mountain Nati

Postby Mark A Steiner » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:40 pm

Scott P wrote:
I hear the term "glacier" get thrown around in Colorado, but my understanding was that there aren't any bone fide glaciers left in the state, just permanent snow fields. True?


There are some thing in Colorado called glaciers that are really just snowfields (i.e. St Marys Glacier), but there are genuine small glaciers or glacierettes. There are (usually small) crevasses in the glaciers as well. Fair Glacier, for example sometimes has a rather (by Colorado standards) large one.

Some "rock glaciers" in Colorado (and neighboring states) may actually be actual glaciers, but buried under rocks and talus. Examples of such possible rock covered glaciers are The Dove on Longs Peak and the Timp Glacier on Mount Timpanogos (UT). Sometimes most or all the surface snow/ice melts, but there may be glacial ice buried under the talus.


As long as there are suggestions the ice is moving, such as bergschrund, crevasses and terminal moraines, the term "glacier" will suffice. For others, the term icefield or stagnant icefield are sufficient.

Rock glaciers are prodigious in the San Juans as well. They will form when the supply of frozen precipitation needed to maintain the ice is reduced or cut off. Also, glacial wastage beneath the rocks will take place of there are geothermal issues in the area, and a glacier slowly wastes in that manner.

That aside, I am sorry for what has happened on Andrews Glacier. Condolences to the hiker's loved ones.
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