American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

California, Yosemite National Park, Dana Glacier

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1964

California, Yosemite National Park, Dana Glacier. On 20 July, Eden Smith, Forest Follette, Ron Follette and a friend hiked to the top of

Mt. Dana. None was an experienced climber. There was no thought of doing any difficult climbing. While exploring the upper tongue of the nearby Dana Glacier, they decided to attempt to climb down to its base along the junction of the ice and rock. Stopped part-way by difficulty, they then decided to “slide” the remaining distance. They sat in a chain, grasping the man in front around the waist, and let go. After a short distance they lost control. A hitherto invisible “bump,” the almost filled bergschrund, catapulted them into the air. It is likely that the injuries occurred when they slammed back down. Smith suffered a broken leg and Forest Follette a broken back.

The victims with only minor injuries carried their companions to nearby scree, gave them extra clothing, and one man went for help.

The distance of their fall was approximately 700 feet.

Source: Wayne P. Merry, Ranger YNP.

Analysis: This is a simple case of inexperienced people attempting technical terrain. The glacier at the point they started their slide is steep enough to require ice axe, crampons, and rope.

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.