Adam’s Blog
Mount Timpanogos
9/25/2010 - What an incredible Harvest Moon. What a rugged mountain. What sensational views and scenery. What a demanding overnight hike!!!

B-25 CRASH: On March 9, 1955, a U.S. Air Force B-25 bomber plane crashed into the east side of Mount Timpanogos. At 7:30 p.m. in stormy weather, and with 18” of fresh fallen snow earlier that day, the pilot became disoriented and collided into the mountain about 300 feet shy of the ridge about a mile north of the peak. Rescuers from the Wasatch Mountain Club discovered the wreckage 3 days later and found the 3 crew members and 2 passengers dead from impact.

Killed in the crash were:

  • Maj. DANIEL C. HOWLEY, 33, Springfield, Mass., pilot.
  • 2nd Lt. HOWARD E. ST. JOHN, JR., 25, Mendham, N.J., copilot.
  • Airman 2C DOYLE DEMPSEY, 22, Hawkins, Texas, engineer.
  • DONALD R. CUBBAGE, 45, of Great Falls, Montana, a civilian engineer working for the Air Force.
  • MAURICE McNULTY, 30, a Wyoming man, also a civilian engineer working for the Air Force.
B25 Engine
WING: A portion of the wing can be found on the lower shelf along with a transmission and other scattered debris (Aaron Leavitt, Jonaton Gonzales ,& Adam Leavitt).

The plane initiated its journey from Great Falls, Montana heading south to March Air Force Base, in Riverside, California. After refueling at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, the pilot was navigating in the dark and at about 7:30 p.m. the crash occurred. It is interesting to note that two planes carrying 5 people were lost that night, and it wasn’t until the search party found the wreckage that it was confirmed that the Mount Timpanogos crash site was the location of the B-25 wreckage.

B-25 CRASH SITE LOCATION: Having never visited the location, we were a bit worried that it would be difficult to find the crash site. Searching for directions online, I found the following...

B25 Engine
LOWER ENGINE: The aluminum ends of the prop are still present. If you find this motor, then one more sits up higher to the west (Aaron, Adam, & Michael Leavitt).

“The trail to the B-25 Crash site leaves the main Timpooneke trail at the lip of Timpanogos Basin. From the lip of Timpanogos Basin you will encounter a trail which is signed toilet and leads to the right, this is also the trail to the B-25 Crash Site. Follow the trail north 1/2 mile as it contours around a hill and than follows a small stream to two ponds. The trail disappears as it approaches the ponds. From the ponds the B-25 wreckage is located 1/ 2 mile west-northwest at the base of the scree field at an elevation of 10,800'. The easiest way to locate the wreckage is to climb west up two terraces to the base of the scree. Follow the base of the scree north and you will walk into the middle of the wreckage. Debris from the wreckage is scattered from the base of the scree, across the first terrace and down to the second terrace. The large radial motors are very easy to locate, one motor is located on the upper terrace (N40° 24' 25", W111° 39' 23") and one is located on the lower terrace (N40° 24' 26", W111° 39' 19"). The wreckage remains buried under snow until early to mid August.

          It is possible to contour south along the terrace, which the crash site is on, and intersect the Timpooneke trail as it approaches the Timpanogos Saddle. If you are heading to the summit the detour to the crash site will add one hour to your trek.”

B25 Engine
UPPER ENGINE: No portion of the prop remains on this engine. The other debris is located down the mountain to the east on two separate shelves.

NOTE: After returning home and doing more research, it turns out that both of the planes engines are findable, yet we only searched for, and discovered, one. Why, because we didn’t know that there were two to be found. We thought we were on the higher shelf because we found wreckage below us, overhanging a cliff band, that included a wing and type of transmission. I would modify the instructions above to include the following...

“If you find a motor that has all three blades of the prop cut off with saws, then climb higher to the west looking for the second engine that has the prop completely removed. There are 3 clear wreckage locations.”

MARCH 13, 1955
Ogden Standard Examiner

Salt Lake City (AP) -- Three tough mountain men refused to run from avalanches and fought their way up a towering peak late yesterday to a wrecked B-25 bomber. They found the bodies of three men who died in the crash and dug for two more.

Still missing somewhere in the jagged mountains was a civilian twin-engined Beechcraft, which also carried five persons.

The 10 persons in the two planes vanished in mountain snow storms Wednesday night. Until the climbers reached the B25 and sent a radioed message to planes overhead nobody knew which craft it was.

The men on foot were not equipped to spend the night at the wreck and officers said no attempt to bring out the bodies could be made until today. However, the three men dug into the nine-foot snow trying to find the other two bodies until falling darkness and a gathering storm drove them down the side of 11,750-foot Mt. Timpanogos, highest mountain in the Wasatch range.

The Air Force said it did not know which of the five men in the bomber had been found.

Aboard the B25 on its flight from Great Falls, Mont., to March Air Force Base, Calif., were:

  • Maj. DANIEL C. HOWLEY, 33, Springfield, Mass., pilot.
  • 2nd Lt. HOWARD E. ST. JOHN, JR., 25, Mendham, N.J., copilot.
  • Airman 2C DOYLE DEMPSEY, 22, Hawkins, Tex., engineer.
  • DONALD R. CUBBAGE, 45, of Great Falls, Mont., a civilian engineer working for the Air Force.
  • MAURICE McNULTY, 30, a Wyoming man, also a civilian engineer working for the Air Force.

The climbers reached the wreck at 5:10 p.m. after starting their second day's search at mid-morning.

The plane smashed against the mountain only about 300 feet from the top. The men had to make their way up on foot from Timpooneke ranger station at about the 7,000 foot level. They had to gouge steps in frozen snow and at times sank into their waists as they struggled up the mountain with great packs of snow poised above and ready to rumble down upon them.

The main party turned back early in the afternoon but, under instructions from Snow Ranger Monty Atwater, the three pushed on. They are Jim Shane, Harold Goodro and Leo Stoerts, all members of the Wasatch Mountain Club, whose members specialize in hazardous skiing and climbing.

The men who returned to camp had sent for Army 75 millimeter recoiless rifles to blast the dangerous snow packs down the mountain but this apparently will not be necessary now.



UtahMAP COURTESY OF “Utah’s Favorite Hiking Trails (2nd Edition)


If you are going to spend any time in the outdoors, then these are the “Top 10 Hiking Essentials” that each person in your group must have. Food, snacks, sunblock and all the other stuff are luxury items that come after the following 10 items are packed:

  • 1. Compass/Map
  • 2. Matches
  • 3. Pencil/Paper
  • 4. Whistle
  • 5. First Aid Kit
  • 6. Knife
  • 7. Water
  • 8. Flashlight
  • 9. Rope
  • 10. Mirror

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