Interesting piece about Mount Whitney and Owens Valley (Central Coast Living, Aug. 5). However, I feel compelled to correct some folklore about Walt’s Point on the Horseshoe Meadows road. Walter Millet was an employee of the contractor, Oberg Construction Co. of Northridge, on the first phase of the road. His job was to fuel the pioneering equipment (bulldozers, air compressors, etc.).
Walt was in his 60s, a very personable and friendly guy and perhaps the favorite of all the men on the project. That day, at about the 9,000-foot elevation, he stepped down off a bulldozer and fell to the ground, dead of a heart attack. This was before cellphones.
The foreman at the top had a radio, and I manned the base station at the bottom of the mountain. From the base station, I could communicate with another station in Lone Pine via an old U.S. Forest Service land line. An ambulance along with Dr. Donald Christenson was dispatched from Lone Pine. The road was not completed to Walt’s Point at that time. We had to pull the vehicle up the hill by chaining it to a bulldozer. Of course by this time nothing could help Walt.
This was the only fatality on the project, and it was the contractor that named it Walt’s Point and installed the brass memorial.
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