American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fatal Fall – Climbing Unroped

Oregon, Mt. Washington

  • Accident Reports
  • Author: Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue
  • Accident Year: 2016
  • Publication Year: 2017

At around noon on June 30, Brian Robak (28) left Big Lake Youth Camp to attempt Mt. Washington (7,795 feet). Robak posted a social media photo confirming that he’d reached the summit at approximately 4:30 p.m. He was reported missing around 3 a.m. Searchers located personal possessions below Mt. Washington’s standard route (the north ridge, 5.2) and his body was located via aircraft on July 2.

ANALYSIS

It is not possible to know the exact thought processes at play in this accident. The subject attempted the 5th-class descent from the summit without a rope or any protection. (This descent usually involves two rappels.) He was carrying a backpack and traveling in Converse Chuck Taylor shoes. There are no indications that he was off route. Weather was not a factor, and the fall most likely occurred during daylight hours. (Source: Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue.)

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