American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Washington, Olympics

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1951

Washington State: (2) Olympics. On 20 July 1950 a group of boy scouts was descending Mt. Carey. Three of them got permission from the assistant leader to take a different route, along the side of a steep snow covered ridge. Peter Guimont, 16, lost his footing and crashed into the rocks below. He died of head injuries.

Source of information: member of the investigating commission.

Analysis. To let inexperienced youngsters go off alone in dangerous country was obviously a grave error. This was a trip of the Seattle Boy Scout Council, and the first fatality in over 30 years of operation. In trips of large groups into mountainous country, organization must be strict and carefully carried out to keep everyone under control.

This is an example of an unroped descent of a steep snow slope where a slip may have serious consequences due to the nature of the termination of the slope (rock in this case- - crevasses, precipices, etc., in other cases) and the added danger of injury in the uncontrolled slide itself (from striking an outcropping rock, for instance.) Notice in later comments in this report that a girl hiker was hurt on a standard hike in the Tetons from a slip on steep snow and that in Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks several similar accidents have been reported this year. Also, two men were injured in the same way on Mt. Torrey in Colorado. These are illustrations of one of the most common causes of mountain accidents to hikers and climbers alike.

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