American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Exposure, Bad Weather, Stranded, California, Sierra Nevada

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

EXPOSURE, BAD WEATHER, STRANDED

California, Sierra Nevada

Dr. Reed Boswell (55) and Scott Jackson (16) spent the day of June 16 climbing Clyde Couloir. Near the top they either became stranded or were caught by nightfall. During the night a storm developed, and by Sunday there were high winds and snow at higher elevations. They tried going up and/or down without success. Early Sunday afternoon, Boswell collapsed and Jackson was unable to revive him. Hypothermia and possibly a heart attack were factors. At this point, they were at 13,800 feet on a snow field on North Palisade.

A search was launched at daylight on Monday. Jackson was spotted and rescued by climbers who brought him down the U-Notch for helicopter lift out. Boswell was not lifted out until Tuesday. (Source: L. Lucas, China Lake Mountain Rescue)

Analysis

Clyde Couloir is a difficult route which should be attempted only by experienced climbers. This difficult route becomes even more so when bad weather sets in. (Source: L. Lucas, China Lake Mountain Rescue)

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