Cautionary tale or happy ending? Factors that make a difference in difficult mountain rescue efforts
- Urging climbers to rope up for glacier travel in areas with known and possible crevasses.
- Making sure that any rescuers who descend into crevasses are continuously observed by someone who remains on the surface and has radio contact to call for immediate assistance.
- Recognizing that respirations are often more easily detected than pulses.
- Trying unorthodox extrication methods when necessary.
- Ensuring that rescue teams deployed for crevasse rescues carry kits with a pneumatic hammer-chisel (important for extrication), a tripod and winch, a hypothermia wrap made of a sleeping bag and chemical heating blankets, onboard oxygen supply with an adapter that connects to nasal prongs or a patient’s mask, a mechanical chest compression device, an automated external defibrillator, and IV saline with a fluid warmer. The Denali National Park and Preserve mountaineering rangers now include such kits in their rescue aircraft.
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