American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Rock, California, King's Canyon, The Hermit

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1989


California, King’s Canyon, The Hermit

A group of four experienced climbers (Doug Mantle, Randy Danta, Tina Stough, Joe Stephens) were completing an extended peak climbing trip on The Hermit (3759 meters) in the Evolution area. On August 12, 1988, they angled up a chute that feeds into the main scree chute leading to the summit.

Less than 30 meters from the summit, Doug Mantle (38) placed his hand on a large boulder which came loose. Both Doug and the boulder tumbled ten meters down the chute. He landed in a sitting position, impacting a sharp rock with his right foot trapped by the boulder. Doug suffered a large gash on his leg and back along with numerous face and arm lacerations. Randy was able to stop the bleeding and free Doug’s foot. Emergency first aid was performed and Doug was able to move to a more comfortable area.

At 0900, Joe left for the McClure Ranger Station where he found Ranger Em Scattaregia about to leave on a four day trip. The first helicopter arrived at noon. A Park fireman and a paramedic were dropped nearby. A second helicopter from Yosemite brought in a litter. That helicopter returned at 1500, but aborted a cable pickup due to variable winds. Additional people were brought in from Cedar Grove, totaling six King’s Canyon NPS staff. Doug was placed in a litter and efforts begun to lower the litter 240 meters to a preferred landing site. Three belay points were used with the litter arriving at 0100. The rescue was completed by noon. (Source: The climbing party)


Experience will not necessarily prevent accidents. Mountains, by climbing standards, are in the process of moving downward. This portion of The Hermit moved with a minor impetus from a climber. The rescue was a challenging one with both professionals and climbers doing an outstanding job. (Source: The climbing party)

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