American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

California, Death Valley National Monument, Telescope Peak

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1967

California, Death Valley National Monument, Telescope Peak. On 20 December, Grant Trigg (19) and a companion, Schultz, were descending from the summit of Telescope Peak. The two men attempted ice axe glissades over the steep fall-off of the Eastern slope of the mountain, on icy snow with out-croppings of rock and bush. Trigg was separated from his ice axe, slid 1,000 feet down a steep snow chute and fell to his death over a 200-foot ice fall at the mouth of the chute. Schultz spent some time trying to locate Trigg, was unsuccessful, and worked his way off the slope to the trail with great difficulty, and went on for help.

Source: Carl A. Heller and Gilbert Blinn

Analysis: Both Trigg and Schultz evidently had such limited experience in climbing on ice and snow, and in the uses of the equipment and techniques thereof, that they did not realize the hazards of an ice axe glissade on such a treacherous slope. More experienced climbers would not have attempted it.

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