AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Washington, Mt. Garfield, Washington Cascades 45 Miles from Seattle

Washington, Mt. Garfield, Washington Cascades 45 miles from Seattle— On May 18, a four man roped party was descending a wide snow ledge which angled down below a rock cliff on the N.W. route on Mt. Garfield. All were moderately to extremely experienced. The party had turned back before reaching the summit because of rain and cool weather. When the first man, Carlton L. Rhoades (28) heard and saw rocks falling on the snow in front of him, he quickly turned and started back up the slope. A 16 inch in diameter rock fell vertically through the air, landed on a rock imbedded in the snow above him and shattered into many pieces. Rhoades tried to duck the flying rock fragments, but a 7 inch piece flew horizontally into his arm, spinning him around and knocking him down the slope. The second man on the rope, William I. Phillips (31) was pulled over but managed to apply a self arrest in the snow and stop both men. After examination of Rhoades’ arm. the party believed that it was probably just badly bruised, but might be broken. Phillips then took the lead on the descent while the other two climbers belayed Rhoades down the difficult spots.

Medical examination showed that the forearm (ulna) was broken four inches above the wrist. A cast was required for two months.

Source: V. Josendal, interviews with the four climbers.

Analysis: In this locality, rains loosen rock and increase the danger of rockfall, especially in the spring. The climbing rope proved its value by allowing an uninjured man to stop the sliding of the man hit by rockfall.