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North Sister accident claims Portland Doctor

The primary purpose of these experience reports and the Annual Report of Accidents in North American Mountaineering is to aid in the prevention of accidents.

Dr. Bruce Shively, 55, slipped on the steep friable volcanic rock slopes below the summit and fell down one of three possible chutes, 600 vertical feet to his death. Shively was last seen about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday while descending the dangerous unstable slopes. He became separated from his female climbing partner who did not see him fall. She descended and two hours later borrowed a cell phone to call for Search and Rescue. At 4:30 pm. on Sunday, Dr. Shively’s body was observed closely from an Oregon National Guard helicopter by Al Hornish, a mission manager with Deschutes County Search and Rescue. It was determined Shively had not survived the fall.

Dr. Shively’s body was recovered by helicopter hoist on July 11, 2003 by Lane County Search and Rescue Personnel according to John Miller, SAR Coordinator.

Analysis of Accident: What knowledge and techniques will help prevent future accidents?
North Sister is a fourth class summit, approached along the top of the south ridge by a faint climbers way high up along the west side of a gendarme called The Camel’s Hump. The route then winds to the east side of a second gendarme, then traverses across an exposed friable 35 degree slope just under the Prouty Pinnacles to a gully called The Bowling Alley. Most groups, equipped with helmets and rock climbing skills, will elect to set a hand line across this traverse and belay and rappel the loose gully to the summit.

Five climbers have died in recent years on North Sister, some from inexperience and a failure to mitigate the high exposure and objective dangers of this old volcano.

Additional Comments
Dr. Shively was reportedly an experienced climber, having summitted Mount Hood, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens. However, climbing these moderate snow clad peaks is not preparation for the steep friable volcanic slopes guarding the gendarmes and summit blocks of North Sister.

Report filed by Robert Speik for the 56th edition of ANAM to be published in 2003
Copyright© 2004 by Robert Speik. All Rights Reserved





Read more . . .
American Alpine Club
Oregon Section of the AAC
Accidents in North American Mountaineering

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