American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Rock, Inexperience, Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986


Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park

On June 19, 1985, Albert Knight (22) and David Languilli (21) were ascending the Cutoff Mountain Ridge by bushwacking on a route parallel to a maintained trail. They reached an area of high angle conglomerate rock which became vertical further up. While route finding, they separated but maintained voice contact. Languilli turned back in his attempt, and soon after lost voice contact with Knight. Knight was apparently ascending a gully in vertical, rotten, conglomeratte rock when he fell approximately 30-35 meters to his death. (Source: Michael Robinson, Ranger, Yellowstone National Park)


Knight was a hiker and a fisherman. He and his companion had avoided the obvious trail so as to challenge themselves. There may have been some competitiveness on Knight’s part, as he was showing Languilli the country. Inexperience and a purposely sought challenge appear to have inspired Knight to continue in very hazardous rock when Languilli turned back. (Source: Michael Robinson, Ranger, Yellowstone National Park)

(Editor's Note: Another hiking situation which turned into a need for climbing skills. This is not a climbing accident or statistic, but presented for what it is.)

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