American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Washington State: (1) Cascades

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1952

REVIEW OF ACCIDENTS IN 1951

Washington State: (1)Cascades. On 2 June 1951 Charles Randall, a 23-year-old University of Washington student, was hit by a falling rock while climbing Red Mountain near Snoqualmie Pass Summit. The accident occurred about noon, when a lone rock, weighing about 20 lbs., bounded down the slope and struck Randall in the head. He suffered a possible skull fracture and a shoulder injury. It is not known what dislodged the rock.

Randall’s companion, Paul Moran, seeking aid, met a group of Seattle Boy Scouts. Two of the Scouts went for help, while Moran and several of the other Scouts returned to Randall. Three Seattle members of the Mountaineers Club, state patrolmen and forest rangers from North Bend formed a rescue party. The members of the Mountaineers were Cameron Beckwith, Ron Livingston and Tom Miller. The rescue party traversed deep snow and rough terrain to carry Randall in a basket stretcher about four miles from the scene of the accident to the highway. There the group was met by a Coast Guard Helicopter. The helicopter transported Randall to Boeing Field for subsequent hospitalization. About nine hours elapsed between the time of the accident and Randal1’s arrival at Boeing Field.

Source of Information: newspaper account.

Analysis. Although it is not so stated in the source account, this rescue was evidently carried out along organization lines established by the Mountain Rescue and Safety Council and the Mountaineers (Club), which have been coordinating efforts to promote safe mountaineering practices and to provide an effective search and rescue system for mountain accidents in the Pacific Northwest. The efficient cooperation of the several groups and agencies involved in this rescue makes it apparent that the council and affiliated organizations are to be highly commended for the work they are doing.

The accident resulted from one of the most insidious and uncontrollable dangers of mountaineering, that of falling rocks. Yet this is a danger which can of ten be minimized by careful selection of the route and by constant alertness to any evidence or sound of falling rocks. It is usually possible to dodge a single bounding rock, such as that which struck Randall, if the rock is sighted while it is still some distance above the party.

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