Camp Turns Frightening For Ft. Gibson Student

Wednesday, August 5th 2009, 5:57 pm
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

FT. GIBSON, OK -- An Oklahoma girl is recovering after a frightening slide down a glacier. Cheyanne Olson was on a special summer camp excursion when she was injured and had to be airlifted to safety by a navy helicopter rescue crew. It was a summer experience she will never forget.

Cheyanne is a talented kid who had an extraordinary opportunity and now has an incredible story to tell to other students about what she did on her summer vacation.

"They'll be saying 'I went swimming, and I went camping,' and I'll tell them I fell off a glacier," said Cheyanne Olson, a Ft. Gibson student.

Out of 180 young women who applied, Cheyanne was one of only nine accepted for a special mountaineering camp called Girls on Ice, a wilderness science education program sponsored by the University of Alaska.

"I was so excited," she said.

But that excitement turned to fear on the third day of the trip.

The girls were on Easton Glacier on Mount Baker in Washington State. While sliding during an ice axe training exercise, Cheyanne was hurt.

"It jerked me, and I flew back around onto the axe, and I dropped it because it knocked the breath out of me," she said.

The 15 year old slid another 50 yards down the glacier ending up with bruised ribs and lungs and a concussion.

"A lot of climbers when they fall like that they fall into the crevices and they don't come out alive," said Terri Fields, Cheyanne's mom.  "So we're very grateful."

Cheyanne was airlifted out by a rescue team from a nearby Naval station.

"I'm grateful.  I don't know what would have happened if I would have had to stay up there," she said.

"All the right people were in all the right places at all the right time," Terri Fields said.

Cheyanne was kept in the hospital overnight for observation, but is now back home recovering.  Considering what happened, would she do it again?

"Yeah," she said.  "It was so much fun."

Cheyanne has an internship scheduled for next summer at Yellowstone. Her mom says she's going along with her this time.