American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Wyoming, Tetons, Mt. Moran

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1963

Wyoming, Tetons, Mt. Moran. On June 12 Milt Hokanson (19) and David Wood (20) were attempting a climb on the South Buttress of Mount Moran. Hokanson led around a corner onto a high angle slab attempting to reach the bolt from which to pendulum. This pitch requires various direct aid moves according to ability. Hokanson used two Army vertical pitons that had been placed in a previous year. He was standing in one of these and leaned over to talk to Wood when the piton pulled out. The lower piton failed, and Wood stopped Hokanson after a fall of sixty feet. Hokanson hit a large sharp flake and suffered a severely bruised hip and lacerations on his fingers. Wood suffered a cracked rib, sprained thumb and rope burns. They rappelled about 1,000 feet down the buttress and walked out unaided.

Source: Leon R. Sinclair, Park Ranger.

Analysis: The party was climbing rapidly and well. They left camp at 6:30 A.M. and had climbed about 1,200 feet of hard fifth-class climbing by 10:00 A.M. when the fall occurred. Their desire to “make good time” was probably the reason why Hokanson failed to place adequate protection. They are both aware that the Army vertical piton is particularly unsuited for the type of rock they were on, especially since these pitons had been placed at some undetermined time in the past.

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