American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Fatal Fall On Snow – Party Separated, Possible Avalanche

Washington, Mt. Adams, South Spur

  • Accident Reports
  • Author: The Editors
  • Accident Year: 2018
  • Publication Year: 2019

On May 27, about 12:30 p.m., a call came in to the Yakima County Sheriff’s Department that a climber (Alexander Edward, 28) had fallen from around 11,000 feet on the south side of Mt. Adams. His two partners were ahead of the climber and did not see him disappear. Rescuers performed a helicopter search but had to stop due to high winds. On May 29, a skier reported finding a body in one of the snowy chutes on the southwest side of the mountain, at around 8,500 feet. Edward’s remains were later recovered. (Sources: Yakima County Sheriff’s Department and published reports.)

ANALYSIS

It’s not known what caused the climber to fall. It is possible he had wandered off-route and either slipped on icy terrain or was caught in a snow slide; the skier reported seeing extensive avalanche debris in the area. No crampons were found with the body. It’s normal to travel unroped on this moderate route, but climbers should try to stick together to prevent any team member from getting off-route or to help in case one climber is distressed. (Source: The Editors.)

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