Over four years ago, I read “Touching the Void” and I was always intrigued by situation hikers find themselves in and the incredible things they do to stay alive.

This blog is about learning from other people’s mistakes, so you don’t make the same ones.

“Better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat”

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Hiker Hell is moving into Twitter. For immediate updates to the latest rescue, survival, and accident stories, follow us on twitter: @hiker_hell

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Man Dies in 50-foot Rock Climbing Fall in Wyoming

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Who: Kevin Volkening, a Black Diamond Quality Assurance employee

Where: Clark’s Fork, Wyoming

His mistake: Bad luck

What happened: A Black Diamond employee, who was part of a team that performed quality tests on Black Diamond equipment, was climbing the last pitch of a climb when a block he was standing on broke loose. Kevin Volkening fell about 50 feet to a ledge where he died. His climbing partners went to the ledge, but were unable to revive him. Kevin was an experienced climber and was wearing a helmet during the accident.

Read the full story here.

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Woman Dies in 150-meter Fall Retrieving Snowboard

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Who: A 44-year-old woman

Where: Whakapapa Ski Resort, New Zealand

Her mistake: She went beyond danger signs to retrieve her board

What happened: A woman was at a ski area when she lost her snowboard. The woman went to retrieve it and hiked down beyond warning and danger signs of the cliff. The woman hit an icy patch and began sliding down about 15 meters then fell another 100-150 meters over a cliff. A group of climbers nearby saw the accident happen and called for help. First responders were unable to help her and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

Read the story here.

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Hiker Dies From 200-foot Fall Off of Mt. Whitney

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Who: Yukio Kato, a 60-year-old man from Torrance, CA

Where: Mt. Whitney, California

His mistake: Looks like a mis-step

What happened: A man was hiking down from the summit of Mt. Whitney heading towards the Whitney Portal trailhead. During the decent, the man somehow fell 200 feet off the trail around the 13,500-foot mark. Three men were with him during the accident, but they were uninjured. A chopper and medic were sent to the scene to recover the man’s body the next day.

Read the story here.

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Woman Injured in 40 Foot Rock Climbing Fall

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Who: A 20-year-old woman

Where: A crag near Boulder Canyon

Her mistake: It’s unknown. The cam yanked during the fall

What happened: A woman was trad climbing in a canyon near Boulder Canyon when she fell. One of the pieces (not sure if it was a nut or a cam) was yanked from the wall which extended her fall. It is unclear if the woman decked. She suffered injuries to her head, shoulder and arm, but  never lost consciousness during the incident.

Rescuers arrived and transported the woman to a hospital where she is recovering.

Read the story here.

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Mt. Rainier crevasse swallows 3 Canadian Mountaineers

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Who: 3 Canadian climbers. Two were 31 years old

Where: Mt. Rainier, Washington

Their mistake: Looks like bad luck

What happened: Three mountaineers were hiking through the Emmons Glacier on Mt. Rainier when they punched throw the snow into a crevasse. All three men fell about 50 feet. Other climbers in the area spotted the fallen men and called for help.

A helicopter was sent and the men were pulled from the crevasse. The two 31-year-olds are in serious condition at a local hospital. The third climber is in a separate hospital, but his condition is unknown.

Recent rain hit the mountain and caused icy condition on the surface. It is unclear if the rain may have weakened snow bridges on the mountain.

Read the story here.

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Injured Skier Exercises for 17 Hours Before Rescue

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Who: 72-year-old Toby Kravet

Where: Treble Cone, New Zealand

His mistake: He fell. But he did everything else right.

What happened: A man was skiing (presumable alone) when he fell and suffered multiple compound fractures to his lower legs. Unable to summon help, the man lay in the snow for 17 hours. While the man was waiting for help, he repeated a set of four exercises to stay awake and warm. A search and rescue volunteer eventually spotted the man waving his poles and a rescue ensued. Kravet is a man’s man. When asked what his pain level was on a scale of 1 to 10, the said a 3.

Read the story here.

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Leaves Injure Teen


Who: A 16-year-old girl

Where: Devil’s Ice Box cave, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Missouri

Her mistake: Just a bad mis-step

What happened: A girl was hiking in the Devil’s Ice Box cave and slipped on some leaves. She fell feet first 25-30 feet into the cave and suffered cuts, bruises and a head injury. She was slipping in and out of consciousness while rescuers were on their way. A chopper was brought in to fly her to the closest hospital where she was treated for her injuries.

Read the full story here.


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Man on Mt. Hood Uses Facebook in Rescue


Who: Jeff Kish, a PCT walker and “outdoor enthusiast”

Where: Mt. Hood, Oregon

His mistake: Angry mountain gods

What happened: A man was hiking around the 10,000-foot mark of Mt. Hood when a storm formed above him. He was stranded and became lost on the mountain. When the storm turned into a complete whiteout, the man did two things, he called 911 for help, then he posted his status on Facebook.

He posted a screenshot to his Facebook along with his GPS coordinates. Rescuers used the Facebook info to find the man. He was escorted the mountain in good spirits.

Read the full story here.


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Man Dies in Mountain Fall, Injures Two Others


Who: Erwin Wildhaber, mechanic for the Scott-Swisspower Mountain Bike Team

Where: Chopfenberg mountain, Switzerland

His mistake: He slipped

What happened: A man and two of his friends were hiking on a steep and grassy slope on Chopfenberg mountain. During the hike, the lead man slipped and tumbled down, taking out his two friends. Two of the men tumbled roughly 200 meters before they stopped. The third man continued tumbling and fell over a ledge and died. The two surviving hikers suffered injuries including a broken foot and multiple other fractures.

Read the story here.


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