Aircraft Wrecks in the Mountains and Deserts of the American West

Mt. Moran DC-3 N74586


Many years ago a photo was sent to me of a wrecked DC-3 with a note that said "somewhere in Wyoming". On 7/16/02 while visiting Grand Teton National Park I made some inquiries and found out that the DC-3 in the photo was DC-3 N74586 c/n 19711 now located on towering Mt. Moran at the 11,200' level above the Skillet Glacier. N74586 had crashed during a snowstorm on 11/21/50 killing all twenty-one people on board. Among those killed were seven children whose bodies along with all of the other fourteen people remain on Mt. Moran to this day. I visited with one veteran climber who had been to N74586 on several occasions. He described a scene where wreckage is jammed into crevices and cracks on a nearly vertical wall of rock, where personal effects still litter the mountain after more than fifty years. Some months after the crash a group of climbers and church minister conducted a memorial service at the wreck site. All who pass this way are expected to show their respect by leaving this mountain gravesite undisturbed.

Recommended readings for this story are “Never a Bad Word or a Twisted Rope” by Glenn Exum and “Teton Tales” by Paul K. Petzoldt.

Addendum:   Interesting to read your account of the wreck of the DC-3, and the account of the Church bulletin. Being the son of one of the three pilots aboard, I never got to fly in the Tribesman II because of the Tule fog in Chico before the airplane departed. A footnote to the flight, the 3 pilots were all from bombers during WWII, my dad, Jack Wells Dennis Sr. being a B-17 element leader (Capt.) with 29 missions during the later years of the war... He survived being shot at, both fighter and flak, only to succumb to Mt Moran. Each time I look at the pictures of J Ruskin Garber, I remember the "Brown and Gold" as we called our in house newspaper, and the story of my father...

Thank you for your interest.     Jack Wells Dennis Jr.


G. Pat Macha points to Mt. Moran and N74586 crash site above the Skillet Glacier.


Another view of mighty Mt. Moran and the Skillet Glacier.

When the sunlight is just right, N74586 shines like a diamond, visible for many miles.

This photograph was taken at the crash site of DC-3 N74586 in August 1951. The purpose of the gathering on Mt. Moran in the Grand Tetons was to pay respect to the twenty-one souls who perished there on November 21, 1950. The Park Service and the next of kin agreed, that because it was too dangerous, the bodies of the victims would remain on the mountain. Following a difficult six hour climb to reach the crash site a memorial service was held. Reverend J. Ruskin Garber, an ordained minister, who represented the New Tribes Mission conducted the memorial service. He is seen standing on the left, close to the wreckage of the DC-3. Joining him were Clifford Martz of the New Tribes Mission, three master mountaineers and guides:  Glenn Exum, Paul Petzolt, and Dick Emerson.  Also in attendance were several doctors, and an aeronautical engineer. This photo was provided by Sandra and John Garber, the daughter and son of Reverend Garber.



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