American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Climbing Unroped, Inexperience, Utah, Wasatch Mountains, Mount Olympus

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996


Utah, Wasatch Mountains, Mount Olympus

On June 29, Michael Fox and two companions were hiking in the North Fork, below Mount Olympus. Along the way, they encountered a rock buttress that Michael decided to free climb. After attaining about 40 feet in height, he lost his footing and fell to the bottom of the buttress. His companions determined that Michael was unconscious and appeared to be seriously injured. One of his companions returned to the trail head and notified the Sheriff's office.

The Sheriffs SAR team and paramedics from the Fire Department responded to the scene and found the victim in extremely critical condition. The victim had obvious head injuries and suspected internal injuries. He was quickly carried to the trail head (1/2 mile) and transported by air ambulance to the hospital. The victim died enroute to the hospital.


The scene was investigated by the SAR team. The buttress consisted of mostly poor and crumbling holds and approached 5.8 in difficulty. The victim had no previous experience and no climbing equipment to secure himself to the buttress. (Source: G. Banks, Salt Lake County Sheriff SAR)

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