American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Rock, Fall on Rock, Washington, Klockman Rock

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

FALLING ROCK, FALL ON ROCK

Washington, Klockman Rock

Rescue teams located the bodies of Larry Cornwell (34) and John Norris (34) at the base of Klockman Rock on the northeast side of the main rock formation at approximately 0430 on September 29, 1985. The victims appeared to have been dead for several hours. They were roped together and had rolled approximately 40-50 feet downhill from the base of the rock face until the rope pulled tight from being hung up on some rocks and a small tree or bush. Norris was carrying all of the hardware as if leading a pitch, while Cornwell was wearing leather gloves which may have indicated he was attempting to belay Norris. Norris was also wearing a hard hat. (Source: Craig Eiders, Central Washington Mountain Rescue)

Analysis

Friends of Cornwell indicated that he was very familiar with the dangers of Klockman and that he had commented about the need for good protection when climbing it, which adds even more questions to what really did happen.

Klockman Rock is a very rotten volcanic formation. Its faces contain what seem to be a lot of nice hand holds and small ledges, making the technical aspects of climbing it seem fairly simple. However, the rock can break away quite easily and as a result is very deceptive and dangerous to climb on. (Source: Craig Eilers, Central Washington Mountain Rescue)

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