American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Exposure and Exceeding Abilities—California, Yosemite, Half Dome

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1976

EXPOSURE AND EXCEEDING ABILITIES—California, Yosemite, Half Dome. Dave Diegelman (17) and Bill Brice (17) had been climbing for the full day of August 19, 1975, on Half Dome’s Regular North Face, VI 5.8, A3. It started to rain moderately hard at 3 p.m. The climbers continued on for one more hour to reach the bivouac ledge (13th pitch). The rain continued all night, and was accompanied by freezing temperatures. This weather had been preceded by several months of relatively clear and warm weather. The climbers experienced exposure and exhaustion all night, and the next morning began yelling for help until about noon, when they were heard. Rescue was effectuated from above, the victims jumaring 1200 feet to the top under NPS rescue personnel supervision. (Source: Edited from the NPS Search and Rescue Incident Report submitted.)

Analysis: This storm was unusually severe for the Sierras in summer. The young men weren’t prepared for this exciting moment because they had only

ponchos for bivouacking. With better physical and mental conditioning they might have gone ahead and climbed out. (Source: Charles Farabee Jr., NPS, Yosemite Valley.)

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