American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Stranded, Falling Rock, Inexperience – California, Mt. Irvine

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1978

STRANDED, FALLING ROCK, INEXPERIENCE—California, Mt. Irvine. Thomas Cowie (23) and Geoff Nutting (23) were attempting a 5.7 route on the northeast face of Mt. Irvine on August 14. They were forced to retreat because the climbing was too difficult for them. Cowie had belayed Nutting down a pitch, and then began his descent. He dislodged a boulder which fell on to their rope which was lying on a large ledge. The rock nearly severed the rope in three places, rendering it useless. The climbers were then stranded. Cowie’s mother reported them overdue, and a rescue mission was begun. It was successfully completed by August 15, the speed of it being facilitated by the use of “eight-ring” breaks. Cowie and Nutting suffered no injury. (Source: Ronald Atkins, China Lake Mountain Rescue.)

Analysis: Two inexperienced climbers attempting a Grade IV climb. (Source: Ronald Atkins, China Lake Mountain Rescue.)

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