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Teton Range, Wyoming: (2) Mount Owen

Teton Range, Wyoming: (2) Mount Owen. On 8 August 1947 Clement Ramsland, an instructor in Public Speaking at the University of Minnesota, fell during a descent en rappel from a position above the saddle between Mount Owen and the East Prong. As first man down in his party, he was using a rappel sling installed the year before. Apparently the strain was too great for the sling. After bouncing down and off the out-sloping ledges for 50 feet, he landed on a platform invisible from above. He suffered a concussion, a cracked elbow, four torn ribs, cuts on his hands, a cracked left leg and a broken wrist. A rescue party, organized that night and using headlamps to travel by, reached Ramsland at 6.00 A.M. the next morning. With a basket stretcher, they were able to carry him back to camp by nightfall, but not until 22 persons and several pack animals had become involved in the rescue.

Source of information: National Park Service and members of rescue expedition.

Analysis. A cut-and-dried case against using old rappel slings. At least the first man down should have been tied into a safety rope belayed from above. Application of the most elementary principles of safe climbing could have saved a lot of people a lot of trouble.