American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

California, Yosemite National Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1969

California, Yosemite National Park. On 13 April Patrick Kearns (19) became separated from friends halfway up the Yosemite Falls Trail and continued on alone. He attempted to return by a short cut via a chimney between the Royal Arches and Washington’s Column. He slipped in his descent and fell 1,500 feet or more to his death.

Source: Ivan Miller, Park Ranger, Yosemite National Park.

Analysis: Mr. Kearns tried a short-cut in an area that he was unfamiliar with on his descent. He should have had a better knowledge of the area or had the proper knowledge and equipment for rappelling before he strayed from the trail and should not have separated from his party.

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