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Climbing Accident on McClellan Butte


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According to the Seattle Post Intelligencer, a 46 year old North Bend man fell 600 ft and died while climbing unroped at the 5,000 ft level on McClellan Butte with his 41 year old partner, a man from Snohomish. The identities of climbers were not disclosed. Does anyone know anything about this?

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I was asked abou this at work...

Is there a route up McClellan's (or is it a secret)?

I hiked the regular trail once, but cannot recall noticing a route.


The North Basin route (or North Bowl route, I don't have my Beckey with me) is a nice, late winter/early spring, route up a steep gully that ends below the rotten rock of the north side of the summit. It's best done in March/April, after the snows have consolidated to firm neve, because it's a severe terrain trap during snowstorms or shortly thereafter (probably no snow there this year by now).


They could possibly have been attempting this route (pure speculation on my part). You can get all the way up the couloir to the base of the last 50 feet or so of rock without a rope, but the rock is really loose and crumbly, which is why the route is best done while the snowmelt has frozen the looseness of it all together. I've attempted this route twice, and backed off the top rock both times when I started knocking it down near my belayer. We contoured around to the west (like Beckey suggests) both times to summit. Perhaps they tried the direct route and it wasn't frozen together enough.


Again, I speculate on where this pair might have been and what they might have been doing, but in answer to the question posed by Rafael_H, there is a "technical" route up the very last bit of the North side.

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If he fell at the 5000' level (per the news story), he was at/near the summit. I ASSUME that he probably fell of off the 3rd class scramble at the top, at the end of the main trail.


Many day hikers cross this, and it is easy rock, but it is about a 50'-75'(?) stretch with exposure and pretty severe consequences if someone were to fall.


Sad news.

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No, they were on the North Gully route. When in condition (e.g. last spring), it's a fun snow climb, with a bit of mixed scrambling right near the top, where most people bust out the rope. Right now, however, there's not a speck of snow on the route (ok, there are a few specks low down). It's just rock - loose rock. They were unroped, almost at the top, when he fell and tumbled several hundred feet. SMR and ESAR did the body recovery.

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