American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Slip on Snow, Inadequate Equipment, California, Yosemite Valley

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1984


California, Yosemite Valley

On July 4, 1983, about 1230, Kevin Brown (23) was traversing the top of a snowfield on the way to the base of the Northwest Face of Half Dome when he slipped and fell about 75 meters down the snowfield, over an approximate 6-meter vertical drop, and slid about another 30–45 meters over granite slabs. Brown received moderate injuries, which prevented him from hiking out. Brown’s partner hiked to the trail above them and asked a hiker to go to Little Yosemite Valley and tell the rangers there that his friend needed rescue. This information was given to Ranger Sue Schultz–Clark, who called into park dispatch and initiated a rescue. A horse and foot ranger were started toward the victim from Little Yosemite Valley, while myself and Ranger C. Wilson flew to the scene by helicopter. There we assessed and stabilized the victim and flew with him to the Valley, where he was taken by ambulance to the Yosemite Clinic. (Source: Gary Colliver, Ranger, Yosemite National Park)


This is one of several accidents of this type this year. Whether encountering snow on an approach to a rock climb or encountering rock on an approach to an ice climb, appropriate equipment and techniques are essential attributes for the climber. (Source: J. Williamson)

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