American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Montana, Glacier National Park, Pollock Mountain

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1964

Montana, Glacier National Park, Pollock Mountain. At about 11 A.M. on 18 June Jerome Thomas Delaney, Joseph Commers, and Charles John Brady, began an unplanned climb of Mt. Pollock from the Logan Pass parking area. The climb involved a rather easy 600-foot scramble up heavy talus on about a 60° slope. Above the talus there remained about 1500 feet of alternating vertical pitches and ledges to the summit. The party led by Delaney carried no climbing equipment of any kind. Delaney wore soled mocassins; Commers and Brady wore low tennis shoes. Delaney and Commers were without socks. All were bare headed. The first vertical pitch of some 30 feet was climbed together, after which Delaney chose a different route and left his companions. He climbed to the summit by about noon and descended contacting his still ascending companions with a “see you at the bottom.” Some time after this contact, Delaney fell from a ledge about 30 feet to a boulder field and onto the upper talus slope. Momentum carried him 520 feet over a series of rocky outcropping ledge and steep talus. He was dead when rangers arrived 10 minutes after the accident. His two companions continued to the summit and were unaware of an accident until contacted by the rescue party.

Source: Robert E. Sellers, GNP.

Analysis: (Sellers) Obviously all rules of safe mountaineering were violated here. Complete inexperience and disregard for safety was responsible for the accident. Specifically they should have checked their plans with a ranger beforehand; lack of ropes, proper foot and head gear and lack of knowledge regarding climbing techniques of class 3 and above; the dangers of splitting the party etc. all contributed. Let us hope the 2 survivors will profit by the experience and go on to become good mountaineers.

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