Washington, Mt. Rainier National Park (1)

Publication Year: 1957.

Washington, Mt. Rainier National Park (1)—On July 20, 1956 Jake Brettenback (21) fell into a crevasse at about 13,000 feet elevation while on a summit climb of Mt. Rainier. The snow bridge collapsed under his weight, and the other climber, not having a good belay, was unable to hold him. Brettenbach fell nearly to the bottom of the crevasse before the fall was arrested by the climber at the top. He was then lowered to the bottom and was able to walk out the end of the crevasse. The crevasse was estimated to be about 75 feet deep. His injuries amounted to bruises and lacerations of the head and face, possible multiple fractures of facial bones, possible chest and rib injuries. He was examined by a doctor from the Mountain Rescue Council at the Paradise Ranger Station, after he had been helped down to Camp Muir and packed down from there in a Stokes stretcher by a rescue team of Rangers and Guides. The third member of the climbing party had stopped at the 11,000 feet elevation on the summit attempt due to fatigue.

Source: Preston P. Macy, Superintendent, Mt. Rainer National Park.

Analysis: It would appear that a poor belay technique was involved.