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Climber dies in fall near Monte Cristo


06:21 PM PDT on Sunday, July 5, 2009


KING5.com Staff


EVERETT, Wash. - A climber was killed in an accident on Sunday afternoon.


Snohomish County officials said Search and Rescue workers would recover the body of the climber who fell in the Monte Cristo area.


A local ranger called 911 just after 5 p.m. after the victim's climbing partner reported the incident.


Monte Cristo is located off the Mountain Loop Highway in the Barlow Pass area (between Darrington and Granite Falls).


No further details were immediately available.



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From the Seattle Times. The description suggests she was climbing Monte Cristo Peak.




The mountain climber who died from a fall Sunday near Monte Cristo in eastern Snohomish County was a 39-year-old Duvall woman, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office.


The woman's body was recovered earlier today, according to the Sheriff's Office. The victim's name has not been released by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office.


The woman and her climbing companion — a 39-year-old Duvall man — were climbing in a snow field when the woman lost her footing and fell about 700 feet over a cliff.


The man climbed down to where she fell and discovered her body. He made it back down to the Monte Cristo town site for help late Sunday afternoon.


A helicopter was used to hoist rescue workers down to her body so they could bring her out in the helicopter, the Sheriff's Office said.


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Hard to say . . .There are a lot of cliff bands and steep snow up near Monte Cristo. Could have been on Wilman's too . . ..


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My GF a climber, I taught her how to climb and did at least

a couple of times did the self arrest exercises. All positions

with a ice axe, then all positions with a ski pole, then self

arrest with the body alone. Here is the photos of how to self arrest with a ski pole.




I do my hands differently when I do it, I put my lower hand and upper hand above my shoulder and lean into it with my body weight.


Then I practice self arrest with my body alone, you cup your hands at your face and you place your cuped hands and elbows into the snow and arch your back and push in your toes.


We did this a couple of years and my GF had it down pretty well

and I felt good about teaching her and the practice we put in.

All this a year+ ago.



As climbing season approached this year.

I felt nervice as sometimes she gets her hand placement

wrong to do self arrest. We was planning to do

a climb on steep snow and I asked her if she could self arrest

and she said yes, of course!! But still I lingering doubts, one

evening I made it a point to do all the types of self arrest to

practice them all, she was reluctant. I still had the skill pretty well, but even I got better after a few runs. She couldn't get the hand placements or body positions right on her first few tries......


For some reason her memory or automatic body memory did not

have self arrest down after about a year+ without practice.


Something to think about, of course I don't know about this



I try to practice these skills once a year weather I

need or not.


Climb safe.



Edited by DanO

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It was about a week into July 1990 I climbed Monte Cristo Peak with a couple friends. As one of our party stepped from the North Col on the descent she lost her footing and fell about 700 feet. Although it looked pretty dramatic, it was not a freefall but just a very steep uncontrolled slide down the snow slope. And, fortunately, although rather stunned, she was not injured. Had she gone over some crags that she managed to slide between it could have been a far more distastrous outcome.

I am sorry to hear that this woman from Duvall was not so fortunate.

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Updated information from the Everett Herald:



I was hoping it would clear things up, but it only makes it more odd -- how could the snow be too soft to self-arrest?



The death of Lindsey White, 39, is the first climbing-related fatality in Snohomish County this year, Snohomish County sheriff's Sgt. Danny Wikstrom said.


"It's one too many," he said. "Hopefully, it will be the last one."


The Snohomish County Medical Examiner on Monday ruled White's death an accident.


White was climbing to the 7,136-feet summit Sunday morning, with her boyfriend, also 39 from Duvall, Wikstrom said.


Around 10:30 a.m. the couple were crossing a 40-degree snow slope a few hundred feet below the peak. White lost her footing, and tried to use her ice axe to stop her fall, but the snow was too soft, Wikstrom said.


Her boyfriend told officials he watched her fall.


"He heard her scream and saw her sliding down the snow," Wikstrom said.


The boyfriend was able to reach White but was unable to revive her. He then hiked about six hours to the ruins of the old Monte Cristo town where he alerted Forest Service rangers.

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I was climbing in the Tetons in the summer going up a steep

snow gully to go to another climb. One member fell, had on a heavy pack, steep snow all slushy from the sun. He had pretty

good self arrest position, didn't slow much until he

hit a pile of gravel, then he stopped, slid about 20+ feet. I decided to solo the crappy rock section beside the snow after I saw his fall, me with heavy pack, I doubt my way was better , he and a partner made it up the snow gully after the fall.


I am no super expert, but soft snow can be hard to self arrest in. You need to act fast and in good form, I would think

to dig in toes hard and fast. Better yet to belay yourself

at all times when in these conditions. You plunge the spiked

in of the ice axe for self belay.



Climb safe, reason for these posts.






Edited by DanO

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