Forum Index > Pacific NW History > 12/9/1956 Commercial Airline Crash on Mt. Slesse
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gb
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gb
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PostWed Dec 21, 2022 5:08 am 
Official report We had read about this crash in Fred Beckey's "Challenge of the North Cascades" (which is a great read). On July 21st and 22nd, 1979, Mark Bebie, Gordy and Lowell Skoog, and I climbed the NW Face of Mt. Slesse. On the approach to the route we encountered a solo climber, Jack Bryan who, as I recall, lived near Abbotsford. Bryan asked if he could join us on a couple of rappels on descent. We met again on the summit after doing a fun 5 pitch climb. Bryan told us he had been competing with Fred in 1963 to do the FA of Slesse's NE buttress, which is in "50 Classic Climbs", by Roper. Bryan was outmaneuvered by Fred (big surprise) and did the 2nd ascent of that route. We talked for quite awhile on the summit. Bryan said he instead had done the first ascent of the NE Buttress of the East Peak of Mt. Slesse. This is where the fatal 1956 crash had hit the mountain. He described reaching a high platform on the route - perhaps 3 pitches below the summit, and encountered the crash site. He said the nose cone of the craft was embedded into the rock wall just above this platform. There was considerable debris from the crash and he found a ladies' gold watch on that platform with a broken crystal face. He took the watch home, and had the crystal watch face repaired and it worked perfectly (likely a new battery). He gave the watch to his wife. Bryan more or less guided us down the complex and convoluted descent route off the south side of Slesse. John Tarver and I went back a month later and did the NE Buttress in poor and threatening weather. In the basin meadow beneath Slesse's north side we encountered a great degree of crash debris. I recall seeing an engine block of 12 cylinders in which the first two cylinders were completely mashed and crushed. The rest of the engine was not there, just the block itself with rusted steel piston-block sleeves.

Bramble_Scramble, Chief Joseph, dave allyn
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Pyrites
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PostWed Dec 21, 2022 7:36 am 
The description of the mountain still covered in oil half a year later doesn’t add a sense of ease to us non-climber types. Imagine how slippery everything must have been in the rain. Smashing a Merlin engine block - yipes.

Keep Calm and Carry On? Heck No. Stay Excited and Get Outside!
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Forum Index > Pacific NW History > 12/9/1956 Commercial Airline Crash on Mt. Slesse
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