American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Rappel Failure, California, Yosemite Valley

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1979


California, Yosemite Valley

John Garten (24), John Nygaard (22), and Jeffrey Graves (22), all experienced 5.10 climbers, fell to their deaths on May 14 while descending the Nose on El Ca- pitan. The exact cause will never be known, but evidence revealed that both hangers failed and that possibly the manner in which the climber tied in was incorrect. (Source: Charles Farabee Jr., Yosemite National Park)

(Ed. Note: This accident generated “one of the most complete and intensive [investigations] in Yosemite’s history,” according to Tim Setnicka. The editor recommends an article written by Setnicka, which analyzes the accident, in Off Belay, August 1978, Number 40.)

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