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Wyoming, Grand Teton

Wyoming, Grand Teton. On 6 July at 2130 hours, Gregory Sharp (23) and George Macheel reached the Owen rappel point after climbing the Grand Teton. According to Sharp, he had made the rappel after a previous ascent of the Grand and thought a 150 foot rope doubled (75 feet) was sufficient to reach the landing point. Sharp rappelled over the overhang and found the rope to be 50 feet short. He was now literally at the end of his rope with no way of reascending. The situation was further complicated in that he was hanging free with no access to a ledge. As time passed, Sharp became more uncomfortable and wound the rope around his body to relieve the strain. Things became worse, however, and Sharp stated that at one point the rappel line slipped and his life was possibly saved by a knot tied at the end of the rope. Macheel lowered prusik slings, but Sharp did not use them to reascend the rope. Sharp spent the rest of the night hanging on the rope. At 0830 7 July, Sharp was rescued by a rope lowered from above by Park Ranger, Ted Wilson. Wilson was on routine Mountain Patrol at the time.

Source: Ted Wilson Park Ranger GTNP.

Analysis: Sharp displayed poor judgment by rappelling without safety precautions when he was not absolutely sure of where he was going. Perhaps, in this case, a little bit of knowledge was worse than none at all since he thought the short rope would work. Rappel slings should always be carried in case one must reascend the rope. This incident also stresses the wisdom of tying a knot at the end of the rope. The knot that was tied is probably the reason Sharp is still alive.