Washington, Cascades, Mt. Garfield. The party of Mike Kennedy (19) and Roger Jackson set out to climb a previously unclimbed spire near Mt. Garfield, on June 21. The weather was dry and warm. The spire required some high angle rock climbing. Kennedy was taking a lead belayed by Jackson who was anchored to a piton. At a point about 80 feet above Jackson and six feet above the last piton, Kennedy had two small footholds, a balance hold for the left hand, and a large hold for the right hand. Kennedy tested the right hand hold which he could not see and then proceeded. The right hand hold came out, and the fall was stopped about 20 feet below the start. The hand-hold rock smashed Kennedy’s hard hat, cut his neck and bruised his shoulder. The upper piton bent 50 degrees but held. Jackson felt only a moderate pull. The party rappelled and climbed down, then hiked out.
Source: Mike Kennedy, Frank C. Fickeisen.
Analysis: Good climbing technique and equipment such as a hard hat can reduce potentially tragic situations to merely bad experiences.