American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Ice, Weather, Washington, White Chuck Mountain

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

FALLING ICE, WEATHER

Washington, White Chuck Mountain

On August 4, 1985, Terry Miller (43) and Robert Packer were climbing White Chuck Mountain from the northeast. While attempting to cross an exposed area around the 2100 meter level, ice from above broke loose, hitting the rope between the two men and then jerking Miller off the mountain and crushing him in the ice fall. Packer made his way down to Miller and freed him from the debris, but there was no doubt he was dead.

Packer moved the body a short distance to a safer location, then left to notify authorities. (Source: J.L. Taylor, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)

Analysis

Conditions which normally occur in late summer were four to six weeks ahead of schedule because of warm temperatures. Snow was softer, crevasses bigger, and rockfalls more common than usual for this time of year in the region. (Source: U.S. Forest Service and Mount Rainier National Park Officials)

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