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Hiker died on Mt. Washington

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Tragic.

 

"When he said he was going to run down to the grocery store and get something to eat, that's what he meant. He didn't drive," McLin said. "It's sad to see a lad with so many promises for success fade out and be destroyed."

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thats really too bad, i used to go out there to the eastern olympics and peak bag quite a bit when i was still at UW, almost always by myself, just sad.

 

thoughts and prayers are with his family

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That's a shame. It seems that there's this dangerous place between "hiking" and "climbing". Sounds like this guy was real athletic and confident and got in a little over his head. Perhaps his abilities were up to the task, but he was ill equipped to be at the upper elevations. I was on Elinor on Sunday and the 1st 1000 ft are snow free and then boom you're in it. You can't expect to "hike" these mountains at this time of year. You need proper footwear and an ice axe and some basic mountaineering skills. If the clouds were doing what they were on Sunday and probly the same on the day he was there (why the helicopter couldn't fly) it would be really easy to get disoriented up there, find yourself in difficult terrain and make some bad choices. I still have never climbed Mt Washington in spite of climbing Elinor about 6 times. It looks complicated to me. I guess with my skill, I respect it. I have come close to doing the Elinor/Washington traverse solo a few times, but I get intimidated by trying to find my way down Washington having never been up it. There are lots of cliff bands and it just looks complicated. That's my assessment without having a real report on what happened. Being he was solo, I guess we'll never really know. My condolences to his family.

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If anyone has more info on where he was found, please post it here. The Mason County Journal reported he was "climbing among boulders and snow slopes" and was found at 5700'. It seems probable he was on the standard route given his apparent experience and the likelihood of some sort of boot track in the snow. At that altitude, he probably made the ridge and had completed the traverse to the summit block and was confronted with the crux of the climb--the short exposed ledge at the base of the "chin" to the steep snowfield leading to the summit. A fall on the ledge or snowfield above would send a climber 400' down over near verticle rock and snow. In full winter conditions, the ledge is very exposed and should be protected.

 

This is my backyard conditioning peak and I've spent a lot of time up there. Under avy conditions with soft snow, this summit area demands extreme care. Following tracks from earlier in the season can get you into difficulty in poor snow or ice. I've seen more than a few people wishing for a belay while descending the last snow pitch.

 

It's really a shame this happened. My heart goes out to his friends and family.

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That's kind of a wakeup. I've done WA solo many times, in lots of different conditions, as well as taken up several newbies. I guess I even feel a bit proprietary about it and though I'd heard of people falling off of it, I've never even given thought to it happening to me.

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MountainRescue said:

I was part of the team that found him. He went off the westside of the large buttress, just SW of the Summit on the Washington/ Ellinor traverse.

 

Maybe he found himself off route. Not the place to be if he intended on summiting via the standard route. I made the same mistake on my first attempt--also solo in limited visibility.

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