American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, South Fork of Cascade Canyon

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1958

Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, South Fork of Cascade Canyon— Fred A. Shire, Jr. (23), of Long Beach, Cal., had told his parents that he was going to hike to Lake Solitude via Cascade Canyon and left at 5 A.M. on July 2 to do so. He had planned to be back at the String Lake parking area at 11:30 A.M. that morning. Instead he went up the south fork of Cascade Canyon with the idea of making the entire Skyline Trail. In upper Dartmouth Basin, near the north end of the Wall, he slipped while crossing a steep snow- field and fell into the rocks at the foot of the snowfield breaking his left ankle. He managed to crawl between four and five miles before he was found by a rescue party at 10:50 A.M. on July 3. His injury was aggravated by the long crawl and additional damage was done to his right leg and foot in the process.

Mr. Shire’s parents reported him missing to the Grand Teton National Park officials about 7 P.M. the evening of July 2, and a search party was organized to search the area in which he was supposed to have gone. After an unsuccessful all night search of the Lake Solitude area, the search was then shifted to the south fork of the Cascade Canyon thinking he might have gone that way. This indicates that because of not following pre-planned routes the search was unnecessarily prolonged some 15 hours, in which the hiker further aggravated the injury received in the slide down the snowfield.

Source: Frank R. Oberhansley, superintendent and Park Ranger Doug McLaren, G.T.N.P.

Analysis: Accidents of this type indicate that hikers not familiar with the area they plan to hike through should consult local authorities as to trail conditions particularly during the early part of the season when it is possible that snow may be encountered along their planned trip, and they should let someone know where they are going.

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