1987 Death on Borah

In 1987 an experienced climber descending Borah fell on the snowpack and lost control of his self-arrest. He landed just above a water chute/water-melt tunnel as the avalanche he triggered pushed him into the chute and buried him. Water Chutes/Water-Melt Tunnels When temperatures warm, water melts below the snow surface and flows in river-like patterns downhill. As the water flows, … Continue reading

Death on the Way to Mount Church

The upper section of the East Ridge.

Editor’s Note: On August 4, 2006, a fatality occurred on a summit attempt of Mount Church. What follows is the final article, published by the American Alpine Club in Accidents in North American Mountaineering 2006. I wrote the article along with Butte County Sheriff Wes Collins, with additional input provided by Portneuf Life Flight Registered Nurse Lance Taysom. Wes, an exceptional … Continue reading

Death on Castle Peak

Castle Peak from Peak 10405.

Fatal mountaineering accidents are rare in Idaho, but they do occur. Rarer still are fatalities from summertime avalanches. Most people associate avalanches with wintertime, and winter is when most avalanches do occur. However, for climbers, it’s the summertime avalanche that can be an overlooked risk. Stanley, Idaho, resident Jared Spear died on Castle Peak in a rare summertime avalanche. His friends discovered that he … Continue reading