American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Placed No Protection, Rope Severed, Washington, Mt. Index

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

FALL ON ROCK, PLACED NO PROTECTION, ROPE SEVERED

Washington, Mt. Index

A Bellingham man was killed about 10 a.m. on July 6 in a fall about 300 feet down the northern rock face of Mt. Index.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office said the victim, identified as Mike F. Jackson (30), died after the rope to which he was tied broke on sharp rocks. His climbing partner, Tim Murphy (26), was not injured.

The two climbers were around the 5,200-foot level of the mountain when Murphy scaled down the peak to set an anchor in the rock face. Jackson continued to climb, but slipped and fell the length of the rope before it snapped on the rocks. Jackson fell about 300 feet down the rock face and into a glacier chute about 500 yards above Lake Serene. (Source: The Seattle Times, July 8, 1979)

Analysis

Jackson continued to climb while his partner was setting up a belay. This is why he fell the full length of the rope. This report is also included to point out that the reason for the rope’s breaking was due to its passing over a sharp rock edge under great stress. (Source: J. Williamson)

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