Fatality on Snake Dike 11/8/15


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Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Dec 12, 2015 - 11:40am PT
K trout, you know nothing about the event, your analysis is not required. She made a mistake clipping in to an anchor, and died. It's that simple.

Dec 12, 2015 - 12:01pm PT
Those of you dissing on Ken Trout are woefully ignorant of climbing history. Oh yeah I forgot nothing exists outside of your Californicators club. Pffffft! Werner your comment puts you in the ignorant turd column. Ken is a seasoned veteran and his comments are sincere and have value. I suggest you all take a deep breath and reassess your sense of self importance.

Ken it's good to see you on this forum. Much respect sir. Don't let the Nittwitfest get you down.


Dec 12, 2015 - 12:06pm PT
He's a n00b just like you ......

Dec 12, 2015 - 12:07pm PT
He could start his own thread to analyze the incident. Instantly you roll in with the childish name-calling. I don't care either way other than as a general sign of respect to the fallen.


Dec 12, 2015 - 12:13pm PT
Read what overwatch said .... he's a pro .....

Dec 12, 2015 - 12:22pm PT
Thank you, sir, I TRY to emulate the consummate professionals that I have had the good fortune to associate with in my life.

Dec 12, 2015 - 12:31pm PT
First off , My sincere condolences to the family and friends effected by this terrible loss.

Secondly, Ken was not being disrespectful but got disrespectfully jumped all over simply for presenting valid comments. Comments that others posters were already making.
If we can't learn from avoidable tragedies then we will be doomed to repeat and rue them.

I don't disagree that a seperate thread would have been more sensitive but this is where the discussion was taking place. And what would have been an appropriate thread title?

Edited for overwatch's comment below. I reread the entire thread and am also unaware of any backediting. Ken knows tragedy and I doubt he wanted to offend but he has a keen analytical mind and seen enough of the laxness of modern climbers to be concerned. Unless his original posts contained something really inflamatory he did not deserve the dissing.

Dec 12, 2015 - 12:35pm PT
I see your point there but Mr. Trout kind of blasted in with a semi-scathing post that could have been worded better. Then whatever back editing took place I don't know about that.

With Tradhog on the RIP, although I believe in fly on.

Social climber
So Cal
Dec 12, 2015 - 12:47pm PT
It can take months for all the details to come out. Same thing happened after Woody's accident. No one in the know wanted to disclose all the details due to the human error involved.

Not quite that simple.

The witnesses/participants/ next of kin are all dealing with a stinky plate full in the aftermath.

In these situations next of kin deserve to hear the details first hand, face to face not third hand, from the intardnet rumor mill or media speculation. That can take a while. They may not be ready immediately to deal with it or be reachable.

Everyone else should cool their jets till that happens. The details come out in good time.

With Woody's death that process took about three weeks. It wasn't months, just felt that way.

state of being
Dec 12, 2015 - 12:58pm PT
And your "copyrighted" disclosure of what happened was so poorly written it took several people( primarily Clint ) to actually put together a coherent report.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 12, 2015 - 12:59pm PT
it is best to take this speculation to some other thread with a more general discussion...

such discussions on this sort of thread tend to become accusatory and overly judgemental... and since the thread is specific to the unfortunate team involved in the accident, judgements could be viewed as personal.

I agree with TGT that we could leave this thread alone and let the investigation take its time to come to some conclusion in this specific case. We could discuss the many legitimate issues such a accident might raise in some other thread divorced from the specifics of this particular accident (specifics that no one posting has access to at this time).


Dec 12, 2015 - 01:04pm PT
Ken - we find that separting a condolences thread with a technical evaluation of an accident is never a bad thing. May I suggest you start a new thread on ways to get the chop? Leave this one as folks adding simple condolences and thoughts of the deceased without acrimony so that when family and friends check in they do not become even more traumatized. I tossed out a near miss I had within sight of the snake dike route, but tried to make it non judgemental.

Think about it.

Trad climber
Chatsworth, CA
Dec 12, 2015 - 01:41pm PT
My deepest condolences to her family and friends.



some eastside hovel
Dec 12, 2015 - 03:15pm PT
Yes, condolences to all involved and affected. Very sad indeed.

k trout

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Dec 12, 2015 - 04:01pm PT
I'm about done with my back editing! Sorry to be so slow. I tried to make it a little nicer, but this for the novices who have to make hard decisions about who to trust - not the El Cap in a day guys who freely admit they take huge risks.

Thank you for all your comments - you don't have to be nice to me! If the family of the victim asks me, then I will happily remove the post and put it elsewhere.

Oakland, CA
Dec 2, 2016 - 12:31pm PT
Jesse interviewed on Angela's death. What a terrible tragedy.


The closest I came to dying was a mistake in anchoring myself as well. After reaching a bolted belay with a small slabby stance, I thought I tied my lead line in to a locker clipped to my powerpoint. Usually I clove to the powerpoint, then back up to one of the bolts with an 8. At this belay I didn't do the backup, and instead tied the 8 straight to the locker only.

About 60 seconds later, I realized I'd tied in to a locker that was clipped into nothing more than the keeper loop on my ATC Guide, which was hanging in guide belay mode. To this day I'm still not sure whether I leaned back in those 60 seconds. That sickening moment of seeing what I'd f*#ked up plays through my head some nights before I fall asleep. I try to keep the fear fresh. It's so easy to f*#k up. Some pay the ultimate price, some get to walk away.

RIP Angela.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Dec 2, 2016 - 01:24pm PT
From the Jesse interview page:
Around sunset on November 7, 2015, Angela Uys (26) was at an anchor partway up Snake Dike on Half Dome, preparing to rappel. Her tether system was not effectively clipped to the anchor, and when she weighted the system it failed. She fell approximately 500 feet to her death. In this episode, Ashley speaks with Yosemite climbing ranger Jesse McGahey, who responded to and investigated this tragedy, and the two discuss what went wrong and how similar accidents might be prevented. You can read Jesse's full report from Accidents in North American Climbing here:

From Accidents in North American Climbing:
Snake Dike Tragedy: Inadequate Anchor Tether, Inexperience
California, Yosemite Valley, Half Dome

Accident Reports
Author: Jesse McGahey
Accident Year: 2015
Publication Year: 2016
Around sunset on November 7, Angela Uys (26) was at an anchor on Snake Dike (III 5.7), preparing to rappel. Her tether system was not effectively clipped to the anchor, and when she weighted the system it failed. She fell approximately 500 feet to her death.

At 9 that morning, Angela, Mason Kropp, and Samantha (Sam) Perry started up the Mist Trail toward Snake Dike. They were behind schedule because Angela had not arrived at their campsite in Yosemite Valley until 3 a.m., due to commitments in San Francisco. When they reached the base of the route, around 11:30 a.m., another party of three was climbing the first pitch.

At 1 p.m., after waiting 1.5 hours for the other party to clear, Mason began to lead the first pitch. Sam led the second, and Mason led the third. They were climb- ing with a single 70m rope, with Mason and Sam on opposite ends. Angela was attached to the middle of the rope with a figure 8 on a bight, clipped to a locking carabiner on her harness’ belay loop.

For her anchoring system, Angela had girth-hitched a Metolius Personal Anchor System (PAS) to her belay loop. She had extended the free end of the PAS by girth-hitching to it one end of a 44-inch Metolius Rabbit Runner (a runner with a sewn loop on each end). She clipped the free end of the runner to the anchors with a locking carabiner and clipped the rope to the anchor as her backup. She reasoned that this extended configuration would allow her to stay well below the anchor, thus providing more space for the leader and belayer.

The sun was setting behind Glacier Point as Mason finished leading the third pitch. At that point they decided to rappel, given the late hour, the slow party ahead of them, and the possibility of a difficult, icy descent. None of them had climbed Snake Dike or descended Half Dome before.

After reaching the third-pitch anchors, Mason decided they should rappel from an alternate anchor 20 feet below and to climber’s right of his location. The alternate anchor had rappel rings and was closer to the next anchor they would use on their retreat. Mason asked Angela to climb to the alternate anchor, clip in, and then unclip from the rope so that he could belay Sam up to join her.

Mason remembers looking down and seeing that Angela had not clipped a loop of the PAS into the anchor using a locking carabiner, as he had expected. As he recalls, she placed a locker on the anchor, but from his position it appeared she had threaded the end of the sling/PAS through the locker and closed the loop by clipping it back to her harness. It did not look like she had captured one of the sewn loops of the PAS on the anchor locker. As Sam climbed toward Angela’s position, they heard her scream and watched as she tumbled down the rock face. They yelled for the party just above them to call 911.

Mason and Sam rappelled as fast as they could. On the way down they saw that a locker was still attached to one bolt of the anchor Angela was using. There was nothing else left at the anchor. In his haste to get to the ground, Mason rappelled off the end of the rope on his last rappel. He fell about 10 feet and twisted his ankle. He found Angela below and climber’s right of the base of the climb. He checked for a pulse, but she was clearly dead.


Mason and Sam each had five to seven years of trad-climbing experience, but Angela had limited outdoor experience, with only a few trad leads, and she was still learning the techniques involved.

After her fall Angela’s PAS/runner system was still girth-hitched to her harness. The free end of the runner was loose with no carabiner clipped to it. Two locking carabiners were clipped to her belay loop. One, unlocked, had probably been used to clip into the midpoint of the lead rope. The other was clipped through the two loops of her PAS closest to her harness. The gate was open and the locking sleeve was screwed into the locked position, which prevented the gate from closing.

At the anchor from which she fell, Angela attempted to clip into only one bolt with a single anchoring system before detaching herself from the rope. A fundamental principle of anchoring is redundancy. In this instance, having a separate sling independently clipped between her harness and a bolt would likely have prevented her death. Angela had clipped in to the second- and third-pitch anchor with her rope and the PAS/sling combo, providing redundancy. Perhaps because of haste, fatigue, or lack of training, she did not choose to create a backup at this anchor. Angela was new to multi-pitch climbing, and the team’s plan left her alone for the transition from being clipped to the rope to being attached to the anchor. Her faulty anchoring system may have been caught if one of the other climbers had been at the same anchor.

Other factors may have contributed to the accident, including lack of sleep and distraction. Mason and Sam said Angela had taken many photos with her iPhone during the climb. She had the phone in her hand, presumably to take a photo, at the time she fell.

With the available evidence, we can only speculate about the exact mechanism for Angela’s anchoring system failure. But the factors above increased the possibility of a critical incident. During the first week of climbing we learn about redundant anchor systems, and we must continue to use them. Regardless of experience level, watch what your partner is doing. If you see something that doesn’t look right, speak up! (Source: Ranger Jesse McGahey.)

My analysis:
When you have 2 experienced climbers and 1 new/inexperienced, the new climber "goes in the middle", so the older ones can check their anchoring.
In this accident, she was sent down/across first, and nobody was on hand to check her anchor.
jeff constine

Trad climber
Ao Namao
Dec 2, 2016 - 03:04pm PT
Team Leaders Fault. So sad.

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 2, 2016 - 04:24pm PT
Tragic. Still wondering if sending the least experienced person to a different anchor to untie was a good decision.

Dec 2, 2016 - 06:37pm PT
It wasn't the team leader's fault. It was an accident. No one is at fault.
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