American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

California, Yosemite National Park, The Iota

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1971

California, Yosemite National Park, The Iota. On 7 May Jeff Kevser (20) and Thomas Stutzman (20) were climbing the Iota. Kevser led the first pitch, 5.5 plus; Stutzman led the second pitch and was almost at the end, approximately 135 feet up. He slipped and fell about 270 feet. All of Stutzman’s pins were pulled out. Keyser was jerked out of his belay seat, but the belay held. Keyser came down on one rope. Stutzman had been knocked unconscious but soon regained consciousness. According to Keyser the pins had not sounded firm as they were driven. Stutzman suffered a basalar skull fracture, and a fractured lumbar vertebra plus numerous lacerations. Evacuation to hospital was done by the Park Rangers.

Source: Keyser and Pete Thompson, YNP Ranger.

Analysis: It is a wonder that Stutzman survived a 270-foot fall. This probably indicates that he was slowed or momentarily stopped by some if not all of the pins. The crack system they were climbing was just west of the Iota and was dirty and rotten. They probably should not have been attempting this type of climb with their limited experience.

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