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Utah, Storm Mountain Practice Area

Utah, Storm Mountain Practice Area. On November 26 Paul Burton (22), Carietta Ybarguen (21), and Galen Jorgenson (19) were climbing on Storm Mountain. They had climbed up about 150 feet and had stopped to rest before turning back because of the difficulty. Burton was leading, and Jorgenson was last. The lead man and the second were secured to pitons. Jorgenson apparently in trying to remove some pitons, slipped and fell. He pulled off his two companions and all three fell to the bottom of the cliff. Burton did not lose consciousness and called for help. Others in the area came to their aid. Ybarguen and Jorgenson died of injuries sustained, and Burton was seriously injured.

Source: Harold Goodro; newspaper clippings.

Analysis: (Goodro) The carabiner in the upper piton was pulled out straight, and the gate broken, which would indicate that the piton was fairly well driven and the falling weight of the two climbers was just too much for the equipment to bear. It would seem that Miss Ybarguen should have been belaying Mr. Jorgenson while he retrieved the pitons, but we can’t be sure that she wasn’t.