Risk Management Corner: January

A fall on a snowshoeing trip into the Chicago Lakes basin area due to unstable terrain.
Graham Ottley Graham Ottley
January 08, 2024

Summary: Snowshoe Descent Incident on Chicago Lakes - A Lesson in Winter Awareness

Overview: An experienced CMC member, encountered an incident during a Basic Snowshoe trip while descending in the Chicago Lakes Basin on November 22, 2023. The incident involved a fall caused by rocks destabilized under the snow, resulting in injuries to the participant.

Key Details:

  • Participant: CMC Member
  • Date and Time: November 22, 2023, at 2:30 PM
  • Activity Type: Basic Snowshoe – Chicago Lakes
  • Location: Denver, 9.6 miles with an elevation change of 1800 feet
  • Leader: Eileen O'Leary

Incident Description: As the CMC participant descended, rocks under the snow became destabilized, leading to a fall. The participant suffered a nose bleed and a bruised lip upon hitting the lip during the fall. After the bleeding ceased, the trip continued.

Immediate Response: Despite the injuries, the participant felt their bruised lip would not impact their Thanksgiving meal. The trip leader reached out to the participant for follow-up.

Analysis: The incident serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of winter conditions, with rocks hidden beneath the snow presenting unexpected hazards. Eileen emphasizes the importance of winter awareness and encourages fellow CMC members to exercise caution during descents.

Follow-up: No further intervention was needed, and the incident was attributed to rocks beneath the snow on the trail. Winter adventurers are urged to remain vigilant and prioritize safety during snowy descents.

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