American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Fall on Ice, Climbing Unroped, No Hard Hat, Exceeding Abilities, California, Mt. Whitney

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1981


California, Mt. Whitney

On December 29, 1980, Steven Goolsby (30) was descending an ice hard snowfield below the trail crest with his two companions when he slipped and fell 1,400 feet before stopping. He was unroped and coult not self-arrest with his ice ax. They had left the trail because it was so covered with snow that they thought making their way down the side of the mountain would be safer. Goolsby sustained head and hip injuries although not of a serious nature. His two companions carried him to a base camp at the 12,000-foot level from which he was removed by helicopter. (Source: Mike Mason, China Lake Mountain Rescue Group)


Goolsby, in a newspaper report, stated how fortunate he felt to come out of the accident alive. His primary advice was this: “I would tell climbers not to go over their heads.” By his own admission a novice, he refers to skills, of course. Also, Mt. Whitney in winter is a mountaineering situation, not just a trail hike. (Source: J. Williamson)

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