American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Montana—Glacier National Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1953

Montana—Glacier National Park: Robert Dion, Bill Koch and Don Flynn started climbing Little Chief Mountain at 10 A. M. on July 29, 1952. They had not registered nor notified the rangers of their plan. The three boys proceeded up the face (it is not clear from the report whether this was the regular route which is class 2-3). About halfway up Dion became exhausted and it was decided he should remain while the other two climbed on up. Koch and Flynn reached the summit and returned to the spot where they had left Dion. They found his canteen and coat at the approximate place where they had left him. About 100 feet further down the mountain side they found his hat and some 100 feet below this they found Dion’s body. This was about 8 P. M. and the body was stiff indicating that Dion may have been dead some time. They could not move the body so climbed down and notified the rangers who removed it the next day. Examination of the area at the time the body was recovered revealed that Dion had probably fallen and rolled some 150 feet, about 50 feet of this being a vertical fall; superficial observation of the body disclosed that his head was badly battered and that he had a compound fracture of the left leg above the knee.

Source: Report Glacier National Park.

Analysis: The exact cause of this accident is not apparent, however, one cardinal rule was broken when the party split up leaving the weaker member alone and in a fatigued state.

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