American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

California, Mount Whitney

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1955

California, Mount Whitney—On September 5, 1954, Henry Mandolf (55) with two sixteen-year-old boys, climbed Mt. Whitney by the trail and were descending the north slope toward the Whitney-Russell col. They were carrying packs. On the descent to the col Mandolf slipped on an ice-covered rock. He rolled and slid approximately 100 ft. on the rocks. He was bruised and battered and semi-conscious. His companions immediately set up camp and one of them made a difficult climb that night to get help. A rescue party reached him the next day and he was evacuated. He received severe bruises and sprains.

Source: Charles Wilts, a member of the rescue team; James Bonner.

Analysis: Insufficient care on the part of the climber on difficult terrain (Class 3) at the end of a long hard day. Undoubtedly fatigue contributed to this accident. His companions deserve credit for their handling of the emergency.

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