American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Rock, Rappel Anchor Failure, Washington, Mount Rainier

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986


Washington, Mount Rainier

Michael Maude (22) and Russell Ward (28) left Camp Muir for the Gibralter ledge route in the early hours of May 26, 1985. They arrived at the Bee Hive around 0300 and began to cross the Cowlitz Cleaver. They came to a location where they could have either backed off or rappelled down. They decided to rappel. Maude lowered Ward down the edge. Part way down Ward was hit by a sliding rock, but was not injured. Maude then pulled thr rope back up and set a webbing line around a rock to anchor a rappel. Maude was half way down when the rock gave way. Maude fell four to six meters and was also hit by the falling rock. Maude’s climbing helmet had four large dents in it and his lower left leg was broken.

Ward then regained the ridge and headed for Camp Muir. The first people he met went to Maude’s aid. Ward continued to Camp Muir where he contacted Ranger Henkle at 0500. Maude was rescued with the help of ten people. (Source: Mount Rainier National Park)

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