American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

California, Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1968

California, Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park. On 28 July, Kenneth Klein (23) and John Gunn (19) left a trail bike parked approximately three miles west of trail head to top of Yosemite Falls. Their automobile was left at the trail head, but it is impossible to reconstruct exact sequence of events. It is assumed they intended to make a loop trip up Yosemite Falls area, then over top to the west and end up at the bike. Body of John Gunn was recovered from gorge between upper and lower Yosemite Falls. Klein’s body was not located. This area is off trail and dangerous during spring and summer due to slippery rock (due to spray from falls). Chances are that one or both of the men were attempting to cross Yosemite Creek between the upper and lower falls and were swept away after slipping on the wet rock. Party was not signed out for hike or climb and had not informed anyone of their specific plans. They were employees of the Yosemite Park and Curry Co. in Yosemite National Park.

Source: Steve Hickman, Park Ranger, Yosemite National Park.

Analysis: Klein apparently had a desire to do some climbing, but had virtually no experience. It is evident that the party exercised poor judgement based on inexperience. An experienced party would carry a rope and other equipment in this area.

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