American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Cascade Range

  • Accident Reports
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1936

Mt. Rainier. On January 12th, 1936, Delmar Fadden of Seattle, an Eagle Scout, started on a solo ascent of Mt. Rainier from the north. This summit has never been climbed in January which is the poorest time of year for such an enterprise. A week later when his brother came in to get him, he had not returned, so a rescue party was immediately organized by park rangers. As he had used bamboo markers the trail was easy to follow. His skis and food were found near the base from whence he had proceeded on snow-shoes with dehydrated food. At 12,000 ft. two markers were found but a storm forbade further advance. An airplane reconnaissance reported snowshoe tracks at 13,000 ft. ending in an avalanche with no continuation beyond. A second rescue party, driven back by furious storms, was likewise unsuccessful. Finally another airplane reconnaissance disclosed the body as lying on the Northeast slopes of Emmons Glacier, at an altitude of 13,000 ft.

On February 1st, a new party set out, and in spite of a high wind and intense cold, about 40° below zero, recovered the body which had to be chopped from the ice. The crampon on the left foot was missing, which was probably either the cause or result of the fall, but which, can never be ascertained. Films in the camera which had been taken at the top indicated that Fadden had reached the summit and had slipped on his way down. The fall was apparently not serious but the climber was probably rendered unconscious and froze. Thus, once again, the danger of solo climbing, especially in winter is forcibly brought out.

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