Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park

Publication Year: 1968.

Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Grand Teton. On 21 August Gaylord Campbell (26) and Lorraine Hough (21) were climbing on the North Face of the Grand. According to Campbell, he was leading a pitch about 20 feet above his belayer when some large falling rocks struck him, breaking his leg and knocking him over. He landed back on the belay ledge where Miss Hough was standing. The party was able to attract the attention of another climbing party descending Mt. Owen but this party heard only the cries for help and did not understand the nature of injuries. The returning party notified the Rangers at Jenny Lake at 1:00 a.m. on 22 August, that they had heard the cries for help. At 3:00 a.m. lights were seen on the North Face and at 7:15 a.m. the party was spotted by telescope. The party was observed until 9:00 a.m. By then it was definite that one member of the party was injured and unable to move. At this time it was decided to alert the rescue team to get ready to go. The rescue team reached the scene of the accident at 4:00 p.m. and found that Campbell had a compound fracture of the lower left leg, a bruised hand and other body bruises. Due to the length and steepness of the route to the “Upper Saddle” it was decided the best evacuation route was down the North Face to the Teton Glacier for a helicopter evacuation. By the time all of the necessary equipment was transported to the accident scene and Campbell was made ready to evacuate and the lowering devices rigged up it was too dark to work. At this time the rescue team thought some pain killer would be required for Campbell before he could be moved very far. Plans for an air drop from the helicopter at daylight on the morning of the 23rd were made.

The air drop was made successfully and a reconnaisance of the entire North Face and Teton Glacier was made to see if there was a possibility of making a landing as high on the evacuation route as possible. After the reconnaisance, the helicopter landed at the “Lower Saddle” to evacuate Lorraine Hough, who had been assisted back to the “Lower Saddle” during the night by the rescue team, also the standby team was transported to the valley floor from the “Lower Saddle.” The evacuation of Campbell, for the most part, was directly down the North Face toward the Glacier. The progress was quite slow and continually hampered by rock fall and the location of adequate belay and lowering points for 200 to 300 foot drops. The evacuation continued throughout the 23rd and 24th.

On the evening of the 23rd, two additional men were transported to Teton Glacier with rations and sleeping bags for the rescue team. The two men were to set up an evacuation route down the Glacier in order to speed up the operation once the Glacier was reached. On the morning of the 24th two more men were transported to the Glacier to relieve the main rescue team once the Glacier was reached. While the four men on the Glacier were waiting for the rescue team to get to the Glacier they were able to clear a spot near the top of the Glacier for the helicopter to land, thus eliminating a long snow and ice evacuation to the lower end of the Glacier. The progress of the rescue team was somewhat slower on the 24th than before due to their fatigued condition. The rescue team was able to get Campbell to the helicopter at 4:20 p.m. and he was taken directly to St. John’s Hospital in Jackson by helicopter. The entire rescue team was then brought down from the Glacier by helicopter by 7:30 p.m.

The rescue team worked nearly all night on the 22nd getting equipment and supplies to the scene of the accident, setting up for the lowering process and getting Lorraine Hough over to the “Lower Saddle.” On the night of the 23rd the rescue team worked until after 11:00 p.m. getting the litter to a secure ledge where it would not slip and then later getting themselves secured for some rest.

Source: Pete Sinclair and Richard L. Reese, Park Rangers.