American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Stranded—Benighted (Late Start), Inadequate Clothing and Equipment, Exceeding Abilities, California, Yosemite National Park, Tuolumne Meadows, Lembert Dome

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

STRANDED—BENIGHTED (LATE START), INADEQUATE CLOTHING AND EQUIPMENT, EXCEEDING ABILITIES

California, Yosemite National Park, Tuolumne Meadows, Lembert Dome

On September 7 at 2030, Philip Kast (22) and Sean McCarthy (25) were benighted and ledged out on Lembert Dome after a technical rock climb on the northwest face. They topped out just at nightfall and began traversing east along easy 4th class terrain. They had only one headlamp and were dressed in shorts and t-shirts. About 2245, they found themselves on the Southwest Face in 5th class terrain and unable to navigate the descent. They attempted to lead climb up to the top but found no protection placements available. They decided to stay where they were and call for help. A nearby hiker in the parking lot heard their cries for help and saw their flashing headlamp.

Rangers conducted a technical rescue response, doing a 300-foot lower. (Source: From a report by George Paiva, SAR Ranger)

(Editor's Note: A few of these happen every year in various locations. One or two are always included as reminders of some obvious factors. See September 19 and 26 below also.)

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