American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Near Summit of Mount Teewinot

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

Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, near summit of Mount Teewinot— On 27 July, James B. Rast (20) and Richard P. Holleman (20) had just completed an ascent of Mount Teewinot and were starting to descend when Holleman tried to use a rock projection as a handhold. As he shifted his weight the rock projection came loose causing Holleman to lose his footing and fall into his climbing partner Rast. Both of them fell some fifty feet over sloping rock onto a snowfield. Both were momentarily halted in their fall when Rast was hit in the back by a falling rock which caused Rast to fall an additional 200 feet down the snowfield where he plunged head-first into the rock outcropping at the bottom. Rast died as a result of considerable injury done about the head and shoulders, which included a broken neck, fractures of the head, and a shattered shoulder. Rast’s back was shattered by the falling rock.

Holleman’s injuries in his fall over the rocks consisted of a fractured tibia of the right leg and a deep laceration of the muscle of the left calf, which bled profusely.

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

Analysis: This was a most unfortunate accident. Perhaps the important lesson to be learned is that one must check all handholds since apparently sound rock sometimes is not so sound.

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