FALL ON ROCK
Washington, Ingalls Peak
The body of a young Sumner man who died—despite a female companion’s courageous efforts—after falling while mountain climbing in the Wenatchee National Forest was recovered by a rescue team on July 5.
Kittitas County officials said Jeff Carlson (20) survived the fall but died before rescue teams reached him in the rugged terrain of Ingalls Peak north of Cle Elum and southwest of Leavenworth.
His climbing companion, Kathy LeClair (20) was rescued from the area Saturday and reportedly suffered only from exposure after spending two nights on the mountain in inclement weather. She was not hospitalized.
Bob Say, Kittitas County Search and Rescue Coordinator, credited LeClair with courage and presence of mind in giving Carlson all possible aid and in effecting the rescue.
Carlson apparently died of trauma and exposure, according to Kittitas County Deputy Coroner Earl Cox. The young man’s injuries included head wounds and bone fractures and were severe enough to cause death, Cox said.
Coordinator Say said Carlson and LeClair had been on the mountain all day when crumbling rock gave way, causing Carlson to fall.
The pair were climbing a chimney when the accident occurred, causing Carlson to fall about 130 feet to the end of his climbing rope and to strike both sides of the rock face as he fell, Say said. The fall ended with Carlson hanging from his climbing ropes, suspended over the edge of a cliff and with a broken arm and leg. The only way LeClair could reach him was to cut him down, which resulted in a broken back when he hit a ledge below.
LeClair left her boyfriend on a ledge at 8,000 feet Thursday night and began to climb out for help. However, she got stuck on a small peak and could climb no further. She remained there from Thursday night until 4 p.m. July 7, when the chopper brought up the rescue party. (Source: The News Tribune, July 9, 1979)