American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Utah, Wasatch Range, Mt. Timpanogos

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1970

Utah, Wasatch Range, Mt. Timpanogos. On 16 June Richard Smith (16), left around mid-morning to climb some of the couloirs of snow that still existed on the east side of the mountain above his family’s house. He carried a small pack, a lunch, flashlight, and an ice-axe fashioned from a miner’s pick. As near as can be determined he reached the 10,500 foot level that afternoon and while crossing a rock ridge (very loose rock) slipped and fell approximately 30 feet and struck his head on a rock causing it to flip and break his neck and fracture his skull. Medical examiner and investigating highway patrolman determined he was killed instantly. He was reported missing that night, and a search was organized the next morning. His body was found five days later.

Source: Lamont E. Heaps.

Analysis: According to his parents and fellow associates, the victim was well acquainted with survival in the outdoors. He was a hiker and had recently become interested in mountaineering, snow climbing and glissading. His interest led him to fashion an ice-axe from a miner’s pick for use on the snow patches above the family cabin. His equipment was working boots with crepe soles, canvas pack, and pick.

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