American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Washington, Mt. Rainier—Ingraham Glacier

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1958

Washington, Mt. Rainier—Ingraham Glacier—On September 1, the collapse of a large mass of snow and ice into a hidden crevasse above the 13,000 foot level of the Ingraham Glacier on Mt. Rainier resulted in the death of a novice climber, William Haupert (20). There were two guides for the party of 12. They were travelling in three ropes of four climbers. The victim was the second man on the first rope to ascend up one of the steep “rolls” in the summit snowcap area. The line of ascent was the same as that used all summer by guided parties. The slope up which the first rope team was ascending at 8:30 A.M. was about 50 feet high and rose at an angle of about 30 degrees.

A dull cracking sound was heard and felt as the entire slope above dropped into a hidden crevasse, with the guide, Gary Rose and Haupert dropping into a chaos of ice blocks as it landed and plugged up the wide hole beneath. The crevasse suddenly exposed was about 150-200 feet long and 25 feet across, with the upper lip rising 25 feet above the lower lip. The fallen debris filled the hole to within 8 feet of the lower lip. The guide was unhurt and quickly followed the rope into the snow and uncovered the head and upper body of Haupert, who had been completely buried. First aid was administered, two men went for help and rescue parties of other climbers on the mountain; Rangers and Mountain Rescue Council personnel were organized. Haupert who suffered a broken back and probably damaged spinal cord, died late in the afternoon of the same day.

Source: The Mountaineer 50: 7, Oct. 1957; Preston P. Macy, superintendent, Mt. Rainier National Park and report of Gary Rose, guide of party.

Analysis: This appears to be one of those unfortunate episodes. Ordinarily the first man to fall would have been more likely to be hurt. Whether Haup- ert’s inexperience did not permit him to maneuver properly or not cannot be stated.

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