Walt Rosenthal

From: Frank Binney, April 2006

Dear caving friends,

Some of you AMCS old-timers may remember California caver and rock climber
Walt Rosenthal. And some of you too young to have met Walt may have read the
news item last week about three ski patrol members dying in a volcanic vent
on California's 11,053-foot Mammoth Mountain.

A snow collapse plunged two ski patrol members into the carbon
dioxide-filled vent and the ski patrol's avalanche expert died trying to
rescue them. I am sad to report the ill-fated rescuer was Walt. A rescue
team member said at the scene: "Rosenthal went in first carrying oxygen,
trying to get to the others, without regard for his life, probably knowing
more than the others about the dangers." Below is a link to one of the many
news articles about the tragedy:

Walt was a major influence on my early caving career--impressing me with his
vertical skill and rock climbing abilities on a 1969 Joya de Salas trip and
in subsequent deep caving trips to Mexico in the early 70s. He was the sort
of caving companion whose competency and stamina underground calms you in
hairy situations--you just knew that if you broke your leg, miles in and
thousands of feet down, you could count on Walt to drag your ass to the
surface. I also remember Walt from his occasional stays at the Kirkwood
Kaving Commune and the delight he took in dancing with wild Texas caving

I'm breaking the mescal out tonight, my friend, and drinking a few toasts to

Frank Binney, NSS-10816F

Walt and a crew of 3 others from California joined 4 of us from Texas A&I
Caving Club (quite by chance) for our first descent of Golondrinas in April
of 1969. I have seen and worked with him several times since.

--Gill Ediger