Part of the reason I like this photo so much is that it had a happy ending, but it could easily have gone the other way.
This incident took place during a 2007 trip up to the Wrangell-St.Elias Mountains with Ben Ditto and Grant Guise. We knew there were crevasses on the glaciers, but once we started climbing up a rocky ridgeline, we decided to leave the ropes and glacier gear behind.
Once we reached the top, Grant and I skied one line while Ben shot some photos, then disappeared behind a knoll to presumably ski an adjacent line. He was gone a while, when suddenly the Motorola Radio came to life with Ben saying “I’m hanging upside down in a crevasse and I’m going to die!”
We asked if he was kidding, to which he emphatically said “NO” and we started running back up the 750′ hill to get him, which took about 20 minutes. Once we got to the ridge, we could see a shallow depression (the snowbridge), with a set of ski tracks going right into it, then a set of black bases sticking straight up in the air!
We had to cross the bridge ourselves to get to Ben and then fashion an emergency rescue out of a picket and ice axe (still visible stuck into the lower lip of the crevasse) which we tossed down to Ben, who then pulled himself up to the point where we could help yard him out.
On the way up the slope to get him, Ben, being the photographer, called us on the radio and asked “Take a photo, then yank me out!” When we got there, we were so dismayed that we forgot about the photo until afterward.
Here Ben is screaming in a mixture of pain as the blood flows back into his feet and happiness at being out of the dark hole. As a side-note, when he first fell in he was held by a single Dynafit toepiece!
For 15% off on a Black Raven Ice tool like the one used to pull Ben out, from Backcountry.com, click the photo below…
Category: Sunday Photo