I received this photo from Jeff Witt, a climbing guide who works with Exum Mountain Guides. It is of an ice axe that was with one of the parties injured and pinned down by lightning near the summit of the Grand Teton last Wednesday. We’ve all heard of blue sparks or humming coming from our ice axes when a thunderstorm is near, but I bet very few people have had one actually struck by lighting. They say golfers are the ones who get killed by lightning strikes the most, but I wonder if someday mountaineers will lead the pack? I sure hope not, and imaging if this ice axe was on your back or in your hand when the lightning bolt struck. I think I’d be calling the Jenny Lake Rangers too…that is, if my fingers still worked.
Be safe in them there hills!!!
great pic! On another note, I need counsel. Under the influence of tequila, I respounded to goading and signed up for the 25k Vacquero. I was out of commission for the first part of the summer and am definiteley not in mid-season form. Any advice? Two weeks intense and then a week of nothing? Transcendental meditation? You doing the race this year? Thoughts, admonishments?
right now…i have a trip to the winds planned for that weekend…but things might change.
i’d hit it hard…then rest for 3-4 days before. it’s all downhill at the end…so save some so you can charge it. i got a little lost when the trail peterred out about 3-5 miles (?) in. the route went up and left if you encounter the same thing. i just carried one large hand-held bottle. fun race and wild country.
Brings back a memory that tends to bring itself back when the thunder rumbles. I’d just popped a huge $35 for my Royal Robbins (metal) ice ax at Skinny Skis, back when the SS store was as wide as your spread arms.
Forgot where we were, some high snowy boulder field. There came that ozone smell. Then a bizarre, tuneful zzzz-ing sound. Then my axe vibrated.
It was never so easy to toss a brand new piece of gear far, far away.
good one dswift. that must have been in the early 70’s…when skinny skis was that size. ice axes are now more than twice that price…to start.
“Carbon ice tool, what are you, a weight weenie?”
“No, ’tis for lightning protection, if you must know …”
good one eurob. gonna have to talk to bd about that one. 🙂
i love the smell of ozone in the morning. it smells like victory.
On the carbon ax for lightning protection, I not sure if you’re joking or not. Unfortunatly carbon fiber is an excellent conductor and you would be ill informed to think otherwise.