I have been climbing for 26 years and guiding for 23. Although I have responded to many accidents over the years, I’ve never had anything serious happen to me.
Barry Blanchard, one of my climbing heroes, famously wrote in an email to a group of friends, “It finally happened.” He had broken the golden rule of ice climbing - He took a leader fall.
I have lived by the leader must not fall rule my entire ice climbing career and in fact I still remember the time I took a fall on top rope in 1996 -a much safer way to climb when the rope is above you- and vowed to never ever fall on top rope again. I thought about it all the time and really started to believe that I might just make it through my career, and be able to retire from ice climbing without taking a leader fall.
Connor Gallager, from Columbus, Ohio, was excited about his first solo hike in Colorado on the Maroon Bells Four Pass Loop. He chose the 26.6 mile hike as his first solo hike but was sure to have all of the gear he need including a SPOT Gen3.
The first day of Connor’s hike proved to be a bit colder than he expected and he encountered some bear droppings along the way which he was not very excited about. He had hiked approximately 11 miles before setting up his tent for the night at 11,000’.
Rescue Profile: Jim Adkins
Case #: 17364
Jim Adkins, a pilot and avid hunter, purchased his SPOT Gen3 for hunting season so that his family could track him. Two weeks later, Jim had to use his SPOT for the one thing he hoped he would never have to.
Rescue Profile: Ed and Elias Stratton
Case #: 17111
On August 12, 2016, father and son, Ed and Elias Stratton, were making a normal trip to the local lodge to get some groceries that were being delivered to the area with a friend. Traveling down the Skwentna River was a trip they had made countless times in their airboat. This particular day, they decided to visit with friends at the lodge after picking up their supplies before heading home.
Elias Stratton, a college student and avid outdoorsman, recalls it being a pretty foggy and a rather chilly evening.
Rescue Profile: Deb Fuller
Case #: 16786
Conquering the mountainous North American Pacific Crest Trail is no walk in the park, but that never stopped Deb Fuller, a 63-year-old great-grandmother of six, and her husband Rick from taking on the trek.
The seasoned outdoor enthusiasts were determined to scratch the 2,650 mile trail off their bucket list. Luckily, with experience comes safety-consciousness, so the couple brought their SPOT GEN3® Satellite Messenger along for their adventure.