Skier injured in fall by Snow Lake


Cliff and slope where skier fell

A backcountry skier in the vicinity of Snow Lake divide was badly injured when he slid hundreds of feet down the north side of the ridge towards the south end of Snow Lake, coming to rest in the trees about 100 feet above the lake. According to his skiing partner JPH at, “he’s pretty banged up, but in the end it was a broken arm, stitches in the face and lots of big bruises – definitely not as bad as originally anticipated.” A more detailed account is in a post on Turns All Year. Fortunately he was wearing a helmet or this could have turned out much worse. A nearby party of three at Snow Lake saw the accident and came over to help, speeding the call to SAR and avoiding leaving the injured skier alone. King County’s Guardian 2 search and rescue crews hoisted the injured man to safety and transported him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Seattle Mountain Rescue also participated in the rescue.

Hikers, climbers and skiers in the Snoqualmie Pass area reported the development of a hard icy crust at relatively low elevations. On anything except nearly level ground crampons were necessary for safe travel. The Northwest Avalanche Center issued an unusual non-avalanche hazard alert 3 days before this incident. The party was aware of these conditions and had all the necessary gear along. It underscores how unusual these conditions were where what would normally be a minor slip turned into an uncontrolled fall.

January 22, 2014
On 13 January a heavy local freezing rain event occurred in the Snoqualmie Pass area above about 4500 feet, covering the surface with about a 2-3 inch ice crust. This crust should break down over time but a fall on a slope on this surface could result in a long and dangerous ride!


A climber on nearby Low Mountain the same day descends crusty ice using crampons and an ice axe

Related coverage

  • 2014/01/18 Snoqualmie Pass area ice crust alert
  • 2014/01/25 Skier injured after fall from cliff at Snow Lake
  • 2014/01/26 Saturday heli-evac from Snow Lake
  • 2014/01/26 Back Country Skier Falls off 400 Foot Ice Cliff Near Snow Lake
  • 2014/01/27 Mountains Prove Treacherous over Weekend: Snoqualmie Woman Dies, Two Men Injured
  • 2014/02/01 SMR – February 2014 newsletter with an account of this incident