American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Washington, Mt. Rainier

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

Washington, Mt. Rainier—On November 30, Lowell Linn (23) hiked on snowshoes with his companion, Harry Holcomb (26), above Paradise on the south side of Mt. Rainier. The two left Paradise, 5,500 feet, at 7:30 A.M. and reached a point a little above Panorama Point at the 7,000 foot level at 10:00 A.M. The day was cloudy, but at this point the clouds lifted enough so they could see their objective, Anvil Rock, 9,500 feet. Lowell Linn, who had no previous winter experience in the mountains, thought Anvil Rock looked too far away and wanted to turn back. Holcomb, who had some ski touring experience and had been in the area before, wished to continue upward.

Linn had previously lost his lunch so he shared three apples with Holcomb. Then Linn turned back and started on snowshoes toward Paradise. He had no extra clothing, food or matches. Holcomb, who had skis in addition to snow- shoes, continued on to about the 9,000 foot level of Mt. Rainier. Then he skied down and reached Paradise about 3:30 P.M. During the day visibility had decreased steadily; snow started to fall late in the afternoon.

Holcolm waited for Linn. At 5:30 P.M. he told the park ranger that Linn had not returned.

Five rangers attempted to search the slopes above Paradise Saturday night, but were forced back by high wind and snow. The next day park rangers and Mountain Rescue Council parties searched the vicinity but were handicapped by twenty inches of new snow, high winds, and poor visibility. Lowell Linn was not found.

Source: Richard McGowan, newspaper accounts, V. Josendal.

Analysis: Apparently this inexperienced snowshoe hiker became lost in bad weather, after separation from his companion. He did not survive due to lack of food, clothing, equipment and mountaineering experience.

* 1. flashlight.

matches in waterproof container

heavy knife—scout type

Extra clothing (socks, mittens, sweater)

emergency food



first aid kit


10. map of area

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