American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Southeastern Alaska, Mt. Juneau

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1951

Southeastern Alaska: Mt. Juneau.In September 1950 John Crawford, of Sunnyside, Washington, 22, a summer employee on a government fisheries vessel in Alaska, attempted to climb directly up the west face of Mt. Juneau from the nearby city. Apparently his objective was to take some pictures and, if possible, to climb the peak. He wore only overalls, a sweatshirt and hiking mocassins, but carried an extra sweatshirt. He had not returned by 11 P.M. at night, so two rescue parties were organized, one by the U.S. Coast Guard and another by the U.S. Forest Service. Crawford was found on the following day at 9:15 A.M., walking in a dazed condition at the base of the mountain. It seems that he had become lost and had fallen on the steep mountain slope several times during his wandering in the night. He was treated in the Juneau hospital for shock, two severe head cuts (one above the eye was to the bone) and bruises on the legs and feet.

Source of information: newspaper account; and Anthony Thomas, of the U.S. Forest Service, in charge of one of the rescue teams.

Analysis, An echo of the accident which occurred on this mountain in 1948 and involved a similar solo climber who had gone ashore from a ship docked at Juneau. Fortunately, in this case, the consequences were less; but they might well have been just as tragic. In any event, here is another illustration of a novice “attracted” to the slopes of a nearby mountain and who started to climb ill-equipped and alone, with no appreciation whatsoever of the difficulties involved.

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