AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Washington, Cascades, Nooksack Tower

Washington, Cascades, Nooksack Tower. On July 21 Mike Kennedy and Roger Jackson (28) were approaching the Nooksack Tower. The approach requires the fording of the Nooksack River. The river is glacial melt, and swift, yet has a rocky irregular bottom. Kennedy crossed barefooted and returned for a second load. He remarked at the swiftness of the stream, and re-crossed. Jackson removed socks and laces, put boots back on, and waded briskly into the stream. The thought occurred to Jackson that he might lose a boot but his laces were in the pack. Jackson lost a boot, lost his balance trying to recover it, lost the other boot, and was helped from the river over a 100 feet downstream by Kennedy who saw Jackson’s problem and came flying to help. Kennedy suffered a lacerated hand and his toes which were frozen the year before were badly swollen. Jackson had numerous bruises. Both were on the wrong side of the stream. Kennedy crossed, walked out and got shoes, and returned. The party hiked out.

Source: Roger Jackson, Frank C. Fickeisen.

Analysis: River crossings can be hazardous. In order to protect the feet, it is advisable to wear shoes, laced up but without socks. Also if water is knee-high or more, it is best to remove pants to reduce friction. The use of a rope as a belay is also recommended when the stream is particularly swift or dangerous.