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Climbing Unroped—Washington, Copper Mountain

CLIMBING UNROPED—Washington, Copper Mountain. Harry Christiansen (24) and David Wells and Rick Ohlund were free climbing on the northwest side of Copper Mountain within Mt. Rainier National Park. Christiansen was standing on a rock ledge while his companion, Rick Ohlund was down climbing back to Christiansen’s position. All of a sudden the rock ledge gave way and Christiansen free fell about 15 feet then continued rolling down a steep talus slope for an additional 85 feet. (Source: Elmer Schick)

Analysis: Reviewing the accident led to at least two possible ways to avoid another such circumstance: (1) because of the steepness involved not only on the rock pitch but also with the talus slope below, a belay of some type should have been used; (2) more thorough examination of the stability of the rock ledge also should have been done. (Source: Elmer Schick)