American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Oregon, Salmonberry Canyon

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1963

Oregon, Salmonberry Canyon. On October 6th, Owen Fowler died of a heart attack while hunting. Upon arrival the Oregon State Police determined that the terrain was too rugged for them to attempt removal of the body. On October 7th, MRSCO was requested to survey the situation and determine methods of evacuation. Fowler was located high on the south canyon wall, and an aerial tramway was rigged spanning the canyon from the north canyon wall, some 750 feet above the river. 1040 feet of steel cable and an equivalent amount of nylon rope was used. Fowler’s body was delivered to the Oregon State Police at 5:00 P.M.

Source: Mountain Rescue and Safety Council of Oregon Bulletin.

Analysis: Though mountain rescue units generally try to avoid operations involving lowland work, occasions arise in which their skills are required. The availability of the cable system (of which several exist in the U. S., similar to the ones in common use in the Alps), saved an estimated three to four days effort. Over the years it has been found that if trained rescue units ignore requests of this nature, unskilled persons attempt the recovery and thus endanger themselves. In 1962 one known death (drowning in a mountain torrent) resulted from attempts at recovery by unskilled friends of the bereaved. Recovery is frequently necessary for two reasons: desire of the bereaved for decent burial, and proof of death for insurance purposes.

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