American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, No Protection, Unroped, Washington, Castle Rock

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1992

FALL ON ROCK, NO PROTECTION, UNROPED

Washington, Castle Rock

On October 27, 1991, Niccy Code (32) was leading a group of students on Castle Rock during a semester course in mountaineering. Two of her students were finishing the second pitch of Saber (5.4) while Niccy was organizing another on Saber Ledge to bring up the last student. Once she set up the belay, Niccy untied from the rope and climbed up the second pitch of Saber. She fell about two thirds the height of the pitch, struck Saber and Loggers Ledges, and continued another 150 meters down Castle Rock. She died of massive head injuries despite having worn a helmet.

Niccy was a competent 5.10/5.11 leader; had been an active climber for ten years and an active guide for five years. She was a certified UIAGM assistant summer and winter guide.

Analysis

Niccy decided to climb unroped for a number of possible reasons, including saving time and deciding protection for the climb would be more impractical than helpful, judging by her climbing ability. This accident also demonstrates that even the most experienced are not immune from accidents. (Source: Dean Engle)

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