American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Tripped on Rope, No Hard Hat, California, Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point Apron

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1994


California, Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point Apron

On September 26, 1993, at 1350 Gleed Toombes (41) took a 25 foot leader fall while climbing a route called the Green Dragon on the Glacier Point Apron. Toombes was flipped upside down by his tripping over his climbing rope causing him to hit the back of his head. Toombes was lowered by a bystander who witnessed the fall.

On scene at 1410, I contacted the conscious, disoriented patient with obvious head trauma. Patient received immediate medical care provided by Park Medic Jacobi who arrived on scene at 1415.

Due to stat trauma and mechanism of injury, patient was packaged for short haul evacuation. SAR team, led by SAR Officers Dill and Ingram, was in charge of short haul preparations. Patient was short hauled to the Ahwahnee Meadow at 1455 where he was met by Dr. Bill Bouie, who provided patient with advance life support on scene at the meadow. Patient was loaded on to Medi Flight and flown out at 1538. (Source: Mary Litell, NPS Ranger, Yosemite National Park)


According to his climbing partner, Brian Trask, Toombes is a 5.11 climber. He was leading this 5.11b, had clipped into the last bolt and was heading for the anchor when he popped off a thin friction move.

One of two climbers nearby, Jeff Davis, assisted Trask in lowering Toombes to the ground. While this saved a significant amount of time, it was risky considering the injury. Toombes had been unconscious for eight minutes and blood was coming out of his right ear. Surgeons thought he might die on the operating table.

The fact that SAR were already at the cache, that they could drive to within 200 yards of the climb, and that Toombes was already on the ground enabled quick stabilization and transport to the ER in Modesto. Toombes seems to be recovering without a significant deficit. (Source: John Dill, SAR Ranger, Yosemite National Park)

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