American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Montana, Ravalli County

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1962

Montana, Glacier National Park, Mt. Henkel. On June 20, James E. Moylan (17) and Douglas L. Krueger (18) climbed Mt. Henkel (8710 ft.). They ate their lunch on the summit and started back down at 12:20 p.m. taking a different route that Moylan had selected. Moylan was in the lead. Krueger relates that they spoke of climbing another peak that same day so they couldn’t have been very tired. At about 1:15 p.m., after going down over a series of rock ledges, they realized that their route was not the best and they could go neither right nor left to find a better one. At this point Krueger was working his way down a chimney while Moylan was moving around a ledge. Moylan, for some reason, fell about 20 ft. and Krueger, seeing him fall, moved to the same spot and also fell. Both were now on the same ledge but out of sight of each other. They talked to each other. Krueger then relates that he seems to remember Moylan sliding off the ledge. Krueger evidently “passed out” at this point thinking Moylan had gone for help. He “came to” early in the morning of the 21st, when he heard a rescue crew. Two 3-man rescue teams had been out since 3:30 a.m., and, led by Supervisory Park Ranger L. W. Dale, located Krueger at 6:33 a.m. It took about 45 minutes to evacuate him to the Swift Current Motel. Ranger Dale states that the terrain was easy without ropes and consisted of a series of rock ledges or steps. He states that he could see no reason why the two boys should have had trouble descending other than a careless slip on loose shale. The search continued for the body of Moylan which was found at 4:40 p.m. at a point about 500 ft. below and slightly to the east of where Krueger was rescued. It took about a half-hour to evacuate Moylan’s body to the road. Krueger was taken to the hospital at Cardston, Alberta, Canada, and later in the day to the Whitefish, Montana, hospital. He suffered compressed fractures of his third and fourth lumbar vertebrae and assorted cuts and minor bruises. The weather was ideal for such a climb, being partly cloudy and warm. Winds with gusts up to 30 m.p.h. were blowing both days. It is not believed that the winds played a part in causing the falls. One of the rescuers received a bruised foot.

Source: Fred W. Binnewies, Charles R. Wasen, Lyle H. McDowell.

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