American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Loose Rock, Washington, Tumwater Buttress

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1998

FALL ON ROCK, LOOSE ROCK

Washington, Tumwater Buttress

On Sunday, April 26, Linda Olson was participating in a rock climbing field trip as a student in the Seattle Mountaineers Intermediate Climbing Course. She was leading the second pitch of Tumwater Buttress. Linda climbed to the top of a short pillar and reached the crux of the climb, which was a bulge formed by several large flakes of rock. She placed a wired stopper while standing on top of the pillar then proceeded to work her way up the flakes. She suddenly yelled and was falling, with a large rock falling with her. She fell past her belayer. After she landed, the large flake struck her leg and then her arm. The fall was estimated to be around 25 feet. Her belayer (John Wick) and another rope team provided first aid. Linda sustained a broken arm and broken leg.

Analysis

The wired stopper pulled out during the fall, but it is unclear whether this made a difference in the outcome. Linda was wearing a helmet, without which her injuries would have been much more serious. (Source: From a report written by a panel of five members of the Seattle Mountaineers and written statements from party members)

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