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Sierra Nevada, California: (1) Half Dome (Yosemite National Park)

Sierra Nevada, California: (1) Half Dome (Yosemite National Park). On 19 June 1948 Chalmer J. Groff (19) and a friend, both National Park Service employees, off duty, were descending below the face of Half Dome, in sneakers. Groff slipped on a mossy rock and fell, almost striking his companion. He continued to fall— 70 feet over rough boulder terrain—and was instantly killed. The party was inexperienced and without a rope. The climb was classified. by the Sierra Club as Class 3.

Source of information: National Park Service.

Analysis. Again, heavy payment for inexperience—and it might have been even heavier, since Groff’s companion narrowly missed being knocked off the cliff by Groff’s fall. But it should be pointed out that such an accident might happen even to the most experienced, and emphasized that one must always be on the alert to danger, even on the easiest and simplest climbs—especially descents.