Wyoming—Grand Teton National Park
Wyoming—Grand Teton National Park: On July 14, 1953, Norma Hart (22) and Roger G. Smith had climbed the Grand by the Exum route and were descending via the Owen route. She used a nylon sling tied by unspecified knots and rappelled in the usual way. While Miss Hart was
rappelling into the upper saddle something happened so that the rappel point failed and she fell about 35 feet into the upper saddle. She suffered severe bruises and an impacted fracture of a lumbar vertebra. The Park service and volunteers did an excellent job of evacuation. Later examination of the site of the accident failed to show any recent rock fracture from the rappel. The nylon sling was later recovered and the knot had apparently become untied. There was no evidence of its having been torn or worn through.
Source: Report of Grand Teton National Park.
Analysis: Failure of the nylon rappel sling. N. B. An excellent evaluation of the type of sling used is reported in Appalachia 19: 598-601, December, 1953.
There were two other accidents in this area which involved hikers slipping on snow fields.
Colorado—Rocky Mountain National Park (1): On July 8, 1953, Paul Conrad (17) slipped while climbing a steep snowbank in the Black Lake area. He slid down and hit some rocks, suffering numerous bruises, contusions, and a broken bone in his left wrist.
Source: Rocky Mountain National Park Report.
Analysis: Inexperienced climber failing to appreciate the true dangers of steep snow slopes.