American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Washington—Lundin Peak

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1953

Washington—Lundin Peak: A Washington Alpine Club party of about 15 members, led by William Danielson (29) were finishing a day of climbing practice on September 18, 1952. The final maneuver was that of rappelling. Danielson belayed each as they went down over the 90 foot cliff. The rappel rope was secured at the top with four turns of a light cord tied with a single knot. This cord was actually an upholsterer’s cord, the whole strength of which was a light shell of loosely woven cotton threads around a core

of cotton batting (tested at the University of Washington, it broke under a 75 pound load). The strain at the first long interval of Danielson’s rappel broke one wrap of the securing cord at the top. He plunged the rest of the way downward to his death.

Source: Mountain Rescue Council party and the interrogation of the Washington Alpine Club party.

Comment: It is hard to understand how a man of Danielson’s years of experience in climbing could have been so lax as to use such an inferior means of security and tied only with a single knot. The minimum required in the Mountaineers is ¼%. inch manila, each turn tied independently, and all contacts with sharp corners of rock padded.

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