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Fall on Rock, Falling/Loose Rock, Unroped, California, Clyde Minaret

FALL ON ROCK, FALLING/LOOSE ROCK, UNROPED

California, Clyde Minaret

On June 22, 1991, Bruce Parker (45) and Kathy Moore set out to do the fourth class “Starr’s Route” on Clyde Minaret. The route has some high fourth and low fifth class rock with a long third class area.

They moved well, passing through the third class section and proceeded 250 meters up a large gully, belaying over some low fifth class spots. About 50 meters below the summit ridge, they encountered another low fifth class area. Bruce made the necessary moves unroped. He was wearing climbing shoes and Kathy mountaineering boots.

Kathy felt that she was pushing her limit on unroped fifth class rock and having summitted previously, she chose to start down while there was daylight. She was to set a rappel and move down. Bruce planned to continue to the summit. From a position above Kathy, he noticed an apparent easier route down. He chose to climb over and scout the route for Kathy. The time was 1445.

Kathy shortly heard a rockfall and turned to see Bruce in the air along with a large boulder. He cried, “Rock,” and disappeared from view. She called, but received no response.

The descent to camp took five and a half hours using sun bleached slings for anchors and no prussiks. Bruce had been carrying most of the climbing gear. At Minaret Lake, Kathy met two climbers, one of whom went for help. The rescue officially started at 2300 with Mono County and June Lake Search and Rescue involved. By the time Kathy started oujt in the morning, one helicopter run had been made. She rode on the second flight in order to pinpoint the fall area.

It took a day and a half to find the body. Bruce had fallen 250 meters and had not moved since he had landed.

Analysis

Bruce was a competent, experienced climber. What exactly occurred when the rock came loose is unknown. (Source: Bob Hicks)