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Mt. Jefferson (2)

Mt. Jefferson (2)—On September 6, 1954, George Watts (20), Ron Coon (18) and Ed Keech (18) with little previous experience, climbed Mt. Jefferson up to the pinnacle by a rather round about route. Keech had gone ahead and scaled the pinnacle and returned via the Pamelia Lake route to the car. When Watts and Coon reached the base of the pinnacle, they felt that it was getting late, so they descended. On the way back down, they were descending a steep snow slope leading to the White Water Glacier on the east face of the mountain. George Watts, with only an Alpenstock, could not hold with his crampons and slipped and fell about 250 feet striking a rock en route. Coon carefully climbed down the slope, administered first aid, and together they walked to Jefferson Park where they met a party of Seattle Mountaineers, one of whom stitched the wounds and two others escorted the men out on foot to Bretenbush Lake.

Source: John Biewener from newspaper article by George Watts and an interview with A1 Randall, leader of the Seattle Mountaineers party.

Analysis: Watts and Coon deserve credit for realizing they should turn back. The party, however, should not have split up and should have been properly equipped (there was no rope in the party). They were too inexperienced for the climb, and if they had registered for the climb, they would have been given good directions which might have prevented the accident.