American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Protection Pulled Out, California, Yosemite Valley

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986


California, Yosemite Valley

On May 11,1985, John Wiley (32) took a leader fall while climbing the North Face route on Quarter Dome. Wiley stated that he was leading the fourth pitch (A-2) and had placed a Friend with only two of the cams in the crack. The Friend came loose and he fell for 25 meters. He slid for the first 12 meters, hit a ledge and bounced for the next 13 meters before being caught by his belayer. He injured his ankle in the fall, but was able to jumar back to the ledge where his belayer was located. He and his partner made four rappels to the base of Quarter Dome and spent the night. Early the next morning his partner hiked down to the Valley to report the incident.

A helicopter rescue (Angel-1) was deemed necessary and completed by 1630 on May 12, 1985. (Source: Kelley Maxwell, Ranger, Yosemite National Park)


Wiley was asked why he had fallen so far, and he stated that he had been leap frogging his protection, and that after the Friend popped, two nuts and a pin popped. (Source: Rangers, Yosemite National Park)

This ANAM article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.