American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Rock, California, Yosemite National Park, Mount Dana

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1993

FALLING ROCK

California, Yosemite National Park, Mount Dana

On September 27, 1992, John Hart (44) was belaying David Sanger (43) one pitch above the bergschrund on the left hand side of the Couloir on the Dana Glacier. Hart was about 20 to 30 feet away from the rock wall and anchored. He was unable to dodge a football sized rock that was coming down the Couloir. The rock struck his right patella. The force also resulted in fractures to the shaft and medial condoyle of the femur and to the top of the tibia.

Hart continued to belay his partner up to his position. A rescue operation ensued, involving other climbers, two rangers, a helicopter, and an ambulance. (Source: K. L. O’Connor-Henry, Ranger, Yosemite National Park)

Analysis

While there was no comment provided regarding (a) the position of the climber in the couloir or (b) whether this is an area of known spontaneous rockfall, it is an illustrative accident for consideration of the common factors, either of which can result in injury. (Source: Jed Williamson)

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