American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

California, Sierra Nevada, Clyde Minaret

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1959

California, Sierra Nevada, Clyde Minaret—In the early afternoon of September 3, Dick Scheible, Jay Holliday, Marcia Lightbody, and Charles Finnila (21) of the University of California Hiking Club reached a point on Clyde Minaret where they decided to use the climbing rope. Finnila, waiting on a ledge was struck by a rock dislodged above him. He fell 10 feet then rolled about 200 feet down a series of scree-covered ledges, suffering severe concussion and deep lacerations of the head and knee. John Shonle and Bob Orser, climbing nearby, reached Finnila first. Shonle, an experienced climber, took charge of rescue, applied first aid, and prepared a rope litter. The descent started at 2:00 p.m. with Finnila in a sleeping bag tied in the rope litter, and assisted by 10 climbers. Timberline was reached by dark. The next morning additional help arrived and by noon the party reached a point where a USAF helicopter could land to evacuate Finnila. Rescue operations, though difficult, proceeded efficiently.

Source. William Siri, from report of Robert D. Orser and newspapers. Analysis: Insufficient attention to the danger of dislodging rocks on climbs, and failure of an inexperienced climber to take shelter as directed appear to be the causes.

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