Washington, Snoqualmie Pass—Chair Peak

Publication Year: 1958.

Washington, Snoqualmie Pass—Chair Peak—On Sept. 8, Peter Conti (23) was leading on the east face of Chair Peak several hundred feet below the summit. He had climbed about one-half the length of the rope from his be-

layer, John Coffin (28). As life started up a steeper and more difficult pitch than the average, he slipped and fell the length of the rope, a total distance along the face of about 100 feet. Conti bounced considerably from rock to rock as he fell. Coffin’s belay stopped his fall on a fairly wide ledge beyond which there was a sheer drop off.

Coffin called for help to the other two climbers in the four man party. Conti was found unconscious with numerous scalp wounds and other cuts and bruises. After half an hour he had recovered sufficiently to be able to descend mostly under his own power and aided by the other three. On the way down the party was met by other climbers including Dr. W. K. Rieben, who administered first aid.

When the three members of the original party had taken Conti down over the rough part of the descent, one of the three went to the highway for help while the other two helped Conti down to the trail. Dr. Rieben and party went on to the highway for additional medical equipment which he sent back with two rescuers with directions for its use. By the time Conti reached the trail his strength had about given out.

At the highway a rescue party of 12 was organized by Robert Sperlin and Ray Way, members of the Mountain Rescue Council and Washington Alpine Club. Conti was carried down the trail in a stretcher and reached the highway 10 hours after the accident.

Source: Robert B. Sperlin talked to Ned Gulbran and John Chichester. V. Josendal spoke with John Coffin.

Analysis: (Robert B. Sperlin) Conti apparently did not have the necessary experience for the pitch which he was attempting. He should not have been in the lead on this part of the climb. His injuries would seem to be evidence enough that his lead was much too long on the pitch he was attempting at the time of the accident.