Mountaineer Killed On 14,154′ Mt. Sill, CA Last Monday

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Climber killed on Mt. Sill, CA
A climber was killed on Mt. Sill, California last Monday 10.21.19. Credit: Facebook

Inyo County Sheriff’s Office: 

MT. SILL (PALISADES), CA. October 22, 2019 – On October 20 (late afternoon), two hikers/mountaineers were descending the L-shaped snowfield below Mt. Sill (14,154′) when one slipped and tumbled approximately 300-400 feet sustaining unknown but serious injuries. His partner notified the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office through the use of a satellite communication device.

Mt. Sill is a 14,154′ peak in the North Palisade, the most alpine region of California with 5 peaks over 14,000′. Credit: Facebook

Due to the location and seriousness of the reported injuries, aerial support was requested. Sadly, the patient succumbed to his injuries prior to the arrival of the helicopter. CHP Inland Division Air Operations made an attempt to hoist the fall victim that night but was unable to land due to the high elevation (~13,200′), and gusty north winds.

On October 21, at noon, six Inyo Search and Rescue team members were inserted about 100 feet below the location via Chinook. Team members hoisted the deceased from his location around 2:30 pm, and returned to the Bishop Airport where custody was transferred to the Inyo County Coroner.

R.I.P. Credit: Facebook

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4 thoughts on “Mountaineer Killed On 14,154′ Mt. Sill, CA Last Monday

  1. Not roped? Drastically reduces the probability of a successful ice axe arrest………I have arrested many climbers falling because we were roped………it’s a shame that they didn’t see the advantage of doing that simple thing.

    My condolences to the family and friends of the deceased.

    1. The conditions were hard and icy. It is almost impossible to arrest in such conditions if you fall. Had they been roped, it is very likely that the second climber would have pulled down with the one who fell. Roping up on glaciers and snowfields is most advantageous when there are dangers of crevasse falls, but these are not present in the Sierra glaciers.

      1. Valid points, Bob………

        But I have arrested other climbers on standard snow fields like the routine (non Pearly Gates) approach to Hood as well as one time “in” the Pearly Gates col………….or the standard approach to Gannet…….or near the 12,500′ point on Rainier (just coming over the rise on the Disappointment Cleaver route)…..on the Polish Glacier on Aconcagua …….and on the area near windy corner on Denali………….none of which had crevasses nearby……

        You’re certainly right re icy conditions……….and I must say that the conditions in which I did arrest the falls of others were more normal packed or crusty snow……….If it was true ice…..not just a layer of crust……then, I sure agree that trying to get an arrest would be very problematic which standard axes………..but, if the conditions were known to be usually icy in that area, then it would be advantageous to have ice climbing axe tools which would bite and help with a possible arrest.

        Do you know if all (specifically the poor guy who fell) were wearing (properly maintained/sharpened) crampons, given that the conditions were icy?

        1. Its very easy to Monday morning qb this. None of us know the details of the incident so I would refrain from trying to dissect the incident and offer “if they…” statements as stated above. Anyone who travels in the mountains knows that accidents happen to even the most seasoned climbers. RIP

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