American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Janet Mae Johnson, 1935-1973

  • In Memoriam
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1974



On or about February 1, 1973, Janet Johnson died of exhaustion and exposure near the summit of Aconcagua. She was with a party of four, of whom one other member, John Cooper of East Houston, Texas, also perished. Details of the accident are vague, but it seems that Johnson and Cooper separated from the party and each other, and collapsed while trying to return to camp.

Janet was born in Minneapolis in 1935, and studied at Wayland Academy, Wisconsin, the University of North Dakota, the University of Northern Colorado and then at the University of Colorado, where she received the Ph.D. in education in 1971. At the time of her death she was a teacher in the Denver public schools.

She was a member of the Colorado Mountain Club and the American Alpine Club, and a dedicated mountaineer. On a trip to the Peruvian Andes she missed reaching the summit of Chinchey and was absolutely determined to reach the summit of Aconcagua. She may indeed have reached it; at any rate, she came very close.

Harold F. Walton

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