American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Ice, Climbing Alone and Unroped, Inexperience, Washington, Morning Star Peak

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989

FALL ON ICE, CLIMBING ALONE AND UNROPED, INEXPERIENCE

Washington, Morning Star Peak

On June 26, 1988, Larry Wallinger (41) left home at 0930 to practice using his new ice ax and crampons. He was teaching himself how to climb from the textbook Freedom of the Hills. His intent was to allow a five hour round trip from the Sunrise Mine trailhead including his time to practice the ice ax arrest on a secluded snow slope. He was reported overdue to the Snohomish County Sheriff s office at 2230.

On Thursday, July 7, Larry’s body was located on Morning Star Peak at the base of a cliff in snow and rock debris. The medical examiner concluded that he had probably died from a fall down an ice face and over the cliff.

It appeared that he had fallen approximately 60 meters, losing his equipment as he fell. His ice ax was located approximately 50 meters above, with his crampons and day pack between the ice ax and the body. (Source: Bergtrage, Number 131, September 1988)

Analysis

Wallinger was reported to be very reluctant to do anything in front of people if he couldn’t do it right, and would avoid others and get out of sight if other parties happened on his selected practice area. He was known to be extremely punctual, and his failure to meet a friend for a prearranged dinner surprised all who knew him. (Source: Bergtrage, Number 131, September 1988)

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