American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

The Mountaineers, Inc.

  • Notes
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1950

The Mountaineers, Inc., Seattle, Washington, have made great strides: “To prevent mountaineering accidents it is necessary to educate the climbers themselves.” This organization has spearheaded the formation of the Mountain Rescue and Safety Council in the State of Washington. The Safety Program described below is worthy of imitation by many other groups. The Mountaineers offer both an elementary and intermediate climbing course every year, at which the latest and safest methods of mountaineering are presented. These courses include field trips, experience climbs, demonstrations and examinations to supplement the classroom lectures and recitation. Self-arrests and crevasse rescue methods are practised on the glaciers of Mt. Ranier and instruction in first aid is included in the course. The Safety Committee has constructed a 15-foot belaying tower on the Club’s property at Snoqualmie Pass, where the students may practise stopping a 10-foot fall of the lead man. Ropes and equipment will be tested on the belaying tower to demonstrate the importance of proper use and care of these items, and a physical testing machine is being designed for ropes and other equipment.

A Mountaineer Rescue Patrol has been organized and a small, wallet-sized card bearing a list of the telephone numbers of the members of the rescue party has been distributed amongall members in the Pacific Northwest. The person calling for help is asked to telephone a list of six girls who will notify as many of the rescue committee as can be reached, until a full rescue team has been formed. One car stops at the downtown clubrooms and picks up the Stokes stretcher (wire-basket type) in which is packed three 120-foot climbing ropes for use in belaying the stretcher and two 200-foot reepschnurs, plus assorted pitons and karabiners. A large first aid kit mounted on a pack- board is also tied to the stretcher, which then is fastened on a car-top ski rack.

The Safety Committee has purchased ten new Stokes stretchers, one of which is being kept for quick accessibility in each key mountaineering district. Another stretcher has been outfitted with first aid kit, ropes and hardware in anticipation of a second accident during the same week-end and has been left at the Seattle club room.

The Safety Committee is assembling information on avalanches, and mountaineering safety posters are repeatedly put on the club room bulletin board. A safety slogan has been run in the monthly bulletin. Climbers are urged to leave information about their destination and time of expected return with someone in town and to check in and out with the Forest Service whenever such a check is practical or required. The Safety Committee is also sponsoring a first aid course and safety lectures in the mountaineering school.

A copy of the “Climber's Code” is given to all new members of the Mountaineers, to acquaint them with the precepts of safe climbing. Violations will hereafter be investigated by the Climbing Committee, and “no mention will be made in any Mountaineer publication, and no awards of any kind given in recognition of climbs that are made without regard to principles of good mountaineering.”

Chairman, Mountaineers’ Safety Committee:

James Crooks

1427½ E. Northlake

Seattle, Washington

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