Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park (1)

Publication Year: 1957.

Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park (1)—On June 23, 1956 a party of three were glissading, unroped, down a large snow field leading into Garnet Canyon from the Middle Teton Glacier. Miss Patricia King (18) made an attempt to control her glissade by a self-arrest with an ice axe. The sudden jerking of the ice axe dislocated her right shoulder and caused her to lose control. As she began to pick up speed she lost her ice axe and continued to slide uncontrolled down the snow field onto a large outcropping of boulders. She bounced and rolled some 70 feet through the rocks causing multiple bruises and lacerations to her entire body, particularly her head and face. While the injuries were quite painful none was serious. The Grand Teton National Park Rescue Team evacuated her to St. John’s Hospital in Jackson for treatment of her injuries.

Source: W. Ward Yeager, Acting Superintendent, Grand Teton National Park.

Analysis: (W. W. Yeager). This accident could have very easily been avoided had Miss King taken more consideration of her shoulder as she knew it was weak and it had been easily dislocated several times before. Also the use of belay ropes on the major snow fields is quite necessary early in the spring. Had this party registered before going out they would have been informed of the necessity of the proper type of equipment for snow climbing.