American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Washington, Cashmere Crags

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1959

Washington, Cashmere Crags—On May 31, Ray Riggs (52) a member of the Mountaineers and a veteran climber slipped and fell to his death while descending the steep rocky cliffs above Nada Lake in the Cashmere Crags. He was a member of a six man party that had turned back from an attempt on Mt. Temple because of bad weather. Heavy rain and fog prevented them from attempting the peak, and they were returning from their base camp by the approach route. The route descended alongside a waterfall where most of the party, including Riggs, lowered their packs and came down unencumbered. Riggs, wearing a poncho, started down carefully facing outward. He had descended four or five feet and appeared to be making a move toward his right trying to reach a small ledge when he slipped on the wet rock. He called “falling” and slid roughly 45 feet, struck a ledge, bounced outward, and fell free for another 15 feet. Death was almost instantaneous.

Source: The Mountaineer. August 1958, page 7.

Analysis: Marginal terrain can be as dangerous as mountainous. They had ascended this route earlier under dry conditions; the descent was on steep wet rocks and was felt to be sufficiently difficult to warrant lowering the packs and taking the least exposed route.

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