American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Wyoming, Tetons, Practice Rocks Near Hidden Falls

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

Wyoming, Tetons, Practice Rocks Near Hidden Falls. On August 8 Richard Frisbee (25), John Baker, Roger Wolfe, and Roger Cook were taking the one-day climbing school offered by the Exum School of American Mountaineering. Peter Lev, the guide, had set up the rappel at the beginner’s climbing school by tying two ropes together around a large tree with a “ring bend” leaving a tail of about 7 inches. The belay was through a carabiner clipped into a butterfly knot tied in the rappel ropes. The rappel started on a ledge about 20 feet from the tree. Lev shook the ropes a number of times to free them from some branches; he then went down the ropes hand over hand about 20 feet to 30 feet to the overhang and back up again. Frisbee then proceeded down the rappel. Just after he started down the overhang, the rappel ropes came untied, and he fell about 20 feet before the belay was effective. Frisbee was wearing a hard hat at the time, and he hit first on his head (cracking the hard hat), then bounced and lit on his feet and pitched forward hitting his head again. The guide went to his assistance and found that Frisbee had cut his forehead and injured his ankle. It was later determined that the ankle was fractured along with some bones in the heel of his foot.

Source: F. Douglas McLaren, District Ranger.

Analysis: It is believed that the “ring bend” used to tie the two ropes together became loosened while the guide was trying to shake them out of the branches and came loose when a steady pull was applied to the ropes.

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