Contact Us

42 Years Ago: Hank Williams Jr. Has Near-Fatal Accident in Montana

Hank Williams Jr mountain climbing accident
Christopher Polk, Getty Images

Forty-two years ago today (Aug. 8, 1975) is a day Hank Williams Jr. would most likely rather forget. It was on that date that the country star suffered a near-fatal accident while climbing Ajax Peak in Beaverhead County, Mont.

While Williams Jr. was hiking up Ajax Peak, the snow beneath him collapsed, causing him to fall about 440 feet. The artist was not initially expected to survive, but he did, and he spent more than two years recovering from the incident. He had numerous skull fractures and had multiple surgeries to repair them; the scars led Williams Jr. to grow a beard and wear sunglasses — a look he’s maintained throughout his career.

Williams Jr. was buoyed by the support of the country music community, including two of the genre’s biggest stars, during his recovery: “June Carter and Johnny Cash were there when I came around,” Williams recalls to USA Today, “and it meant a lot.”

He also had the support of his then-girlfriend and future second wife, Becky White, whom he’d met only one week before the accident.

“Twenty-four hours after admitting we loved each other, I became a monster on a mountainside with most of my face gone,” Williams Jr. tells People magazine.

Williams Jr.’s accident is recounted in a movie about his life, Living Proof: The Hank Williams Jr. Story, which stars The Waltons‘ Richard Thomas as the country singer.

Williams Jr. released an album, Hank Williams Jr. and Friends, in December of 1975; it had been recorded prior to the accident. His next album was One Night Stands, released in 1977.

Country Stars Who Have Suffered Terrible Tragedies

Test Your Hank Williams Jr. Knowledge!

NEXT: See a Childhood Photo of Hank Williams Jr.

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of The Boot

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://theboot.com using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for The Boot quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!