American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Washington, Glacier Peak

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1968

Washington, Glacier Peak. On 30 July Mike Boyko (42) had been a member of a party that had made a successful ascent. On reaching the summit he asked permission of the leader to leave the party and to make a more rapid descent as he and another person had to be back at work early on Monday morning. They received this permission, left unroped and started a speedy descent. They followed their tracks for quite a while then Boyko decided to make a short cut. He left the tracks and started to glissade over an unknown area. Going over a slight ridge he glissaded onto ice at a much greater pitch, lost his ice axe and slid into rocks at the bottom of the pitch. He fell approximately 800 feet. His companion had yelled at him not to go that way as they had not followed that route on the ascent but he paid no attention to him. Boyko was alive when his companion reached him but he died within one hour. He was reached by the main party about 50 minutes after his fall.

Source: Neil Baldwin.

Analysis: Never glissade over an unknown slope until it has been established that a good run out is available. Condition of snow or ice on the slope should be known.

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