American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1968

Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park. On 28 July Conrad Fenwick (19) and Peter Pfeifer (19) were climbing up the first snowfield and couloir leading to the notch between the East Prong and Mt. Owen. Fenwick was leading up the rock along the snow. They came to a belay ledge where Pfeifer began to coil the new perlon rope. Because it was new and kinky he did not pay attention to Fenwick who began to cross a small snow chute on the way to a better belay ledge. Pfeifer asked him if he wanted a belay. He said it was not necessary. Fenwick slipped on the snow, and fell unbeknown to Pfeifer, and by the time Pfeifer realized what had happened, he was pulled off. They slid about 500 feet down the crusty snow, unable to arrest themselves, and crashed into the talus. Both suffered lacerations and bruises; they bandaged themselves and walked out.

Source: Ralph H. Tingey, Park Ranger.

Analysis: Better knowledge of travel on snow and ice would have forewarned them of the dangers involved in crossing steep, hard snowfields.

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