American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock and Snow, Bad Weather, Inexperience, Washington, Mt. St. Helens

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

FALL ON ROCK AND SNOW, BAD WEATHER, INEXPERIENCE

Washington, Mt. St. Helens

Rick Fredrickson (18) was blown off the top of Dogs Head on Mt. St. Helens between the elevation of 7,300–7,400 feet and fell or slid down the snow all the way to the 6,200 foot level to the base of Dogs Head.

This accident occurred at approximately 9 a.m. on March 24. The victim and one other member of his climbing party were ascending the Dogs Head route on rope when the accident occurred. The two other members of the climbing party had decided that due to high winds they would no longer continue up the Dogs Head route and were stopped when the accident occurred.

After the accident, one member of the remaining three members of the party descended the route to the Timberline parking lot where the RP made contact with some snowmobilers in the area at 10:20 a.m. The RP then left the Timberline parking lot for the accident scene by snowmobile with one of the snowmobile parties in the area. Two snowmobiles returned to the victim carrying Anderson and the RP. Anderson had also taken with him a sleeping bag and a portable CB radio. The snowmobiles were unable to go all the way to the victim and, due to the icy conditions on top of the snow, the snowmobiles got within 150 yards of the victim. When the RP and Anderson continued to the victim, the two other snowmobiles returned to the parking lot at Timberline.

Fredrickson suffered a broken elbow, sprained ankle, and cuts and bruises. (Source: Deputy Barker, Skamonia County Sheriff’s Office)

Analysis

This was Fredrickson’s first climb. None of the other members of the party had climbed the mountain before. They were all from towns in some other state and they were not experienced climbers. (Source: Deputy Barker, Skamonia County Sheriff’s Office)

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