If you are lucky enough to see certain landmarks in person, you never forget the image. Big Ben, the Statue of Liberty, and the Grand Canyon are all very popular tourist attractions because they are incredible to look at. Another popular tourist attraction is Mount Rushmore. The fact the four United States Presidents’ heads are carved into stone is miraculous.
When it comes to incredible road trip attractions, Mount Rushmore is one of the greatest. It has two things that make it such a huge tourist attraction. First, the site combines natural beauty with human-made marvel. Also, it is the perfect opportunity for a history lesson. Millions of people stop by the site every year to view its wonder.
A Shocking Discovery
On most days, Mount Rushmore looks the same. The stone carvings haven’t changed in generations; however, on one day, visitors got more than they bargained for. The visitors at Mount Rushmore start to panic after seeing the most unlikely sight above. While looking up at the mountain, a group of tourists saw a trespasser making her way up to the monument. She hadn’t walked just a few feet off the trail; she was getting close to a dangerous point of no return.
South Dakota Spider-Woman
As the tourists watched, the woman was preparing to scale the stone faces. Many described her as the South Dakota Spider-Woman. Nobody understood how she did it, but she made it onto the face without anyone even noticing. On the trail, there is a safety railing, and she managed to climb over it. There were plenty of “no trespassing” signs on the path that were placed there to deter tourists who got confused about where the trail ended. When he was on the rock face, the tourists noticed something even more shocking.
No Safety Gear
When the tourists looked closer, they realized that the woman was scaling the monument without a rope or safety harness. Any professional climber knows that it is not wise to climb so high without the proper safety equipment. If that weren’t enough, as she was climbing in the space between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the tourists realized that she wasn’t even wearing shoes. Attempting to climb a mountain barefoot is insane, which led the authorities to believe that the climber may have been mentally unstable.
When the tourists spotted the woman, the authorities did as well. They sent a park ranger to the slope to head the woman off and bring her down off the monument. When the ranger told the woman to come down, she asked him if the authorities wanted her to come down quickly or slowly. During the conversation, she kept scaling the mountain. While the authorities were speaking with the woman, she managed to climb three-quarters of the way up the 60-foot tall sculptures of the presidents. Finally, the authorities had enough of her stunt, and they realized that they had to intervene.
After speaking to the woman again, she finally agreed to come down. She was identified as Alexandria Incontro, who was visiting Mount Rushmore with her family from Nebraska. She never gave the authorities a reason for why she decided to make such a dangerous and unlawful climb.
Before the police could take Alexandria off to jail, they had her see the medic. They wanted to make sure that she was healthy enough to be taken to jail. During the examination, they found that
Alexandria had scraps from scaling the rock pile at the base of the monument. She also suffered some minor injuries on her feet from scaling the faces of the monument barefoot. The medics cleaned up her wounds, and he declined any further treatment.
Pennington County Jail
When the medics were done treating Alexandria’s wounds, they transferred her to Pennington County Jail for her bail hearing. During the hearing, the judge asked her if she needed any psychological help since climbing the face of Mount Rushmore is dangerous and insane.
Alexandria was charged with many crimes resulting from her stunt. She hired a lawyer, and many of the charges were dropped before Alexandria appeared in federal court. She ended up pleading guilty to climbing Mount Rushmore, and she was fined $1,000. She was just lucky that she didn’t end up doing any time in prison. Oddly enough, Alexandria isn’t the only person to attempt to climb Mount Rushmore. In 1970, members of the American Indian Movement planned to climb and then occupy the monument. Greenpeace tried to hand a banner shaped like a gas mask on George Washington in 1987, but they failed. In 2018, a 19-year-old man named Zachary Schossau was caught by the park rangers on the rocks just below the mountain. He apologized, but he was still arrested and fined for his antics.