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Washington, Cascade Pass Area

Washington, Cascade Pass Area—On September 16, 1956 a party of ten mountaineers were on their way to attempt Boston Peak at about 5:00 a.m. They were working their way up a 25-degree glacier worn rock slope. The climbers were unroped and were taking separate routes. On the slope there was a huge rectangular rock slab which appeared to be resting securely. When Helene Glass touched it, however, it slid toward her. As she attempted to jump out of its way, she slipped, fell and began sliding down the smooth rock in front of the huge moving block. A small rock rib caused the block to be deflected just as Miss Glass appeared on the point of being crushed. Other than being shaken up, her injuries were not severe.

Lincoln Hales, the trip leader, was roughly 30-40 feet above Miss Glass when the rock started to slide. He heard the noise. He turned his head, saw what was happening and immediately he rushed down the slope. In his haste, he slipped, fell and broke his leg. Later examination demonstrated two spiral breaks in each bone of the lower leg and a minor break of the ankle.

The leg was immobilized by members of the party. Another climbing party of four was contacted and evacuation was accomplished by the combined forces of the two groups in nine hours.

Source: Jack Hazle, The Mountaineer 50: 120, 1956.

Analysis: (J. Hazle). Miss Glass was wearing triconi-nailed boots on a hard, smooth surface; she therefore did not have good friction and this undoubtedly contributed to her slipping. It also emphasizes the need for caution near all large boulders on slopes. Hale’s accident also shows the need for care where there is loose rock on sloping rock. (See Peñasco Springs Accident, N.M.)