American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Wyoming, Grand Tetons, Symmetry Spire

  • In Memoriam
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1973

Wyoming, Grand Tetons, Symmetry Spire. On 26 July Michael Feldman (33) and Lydia Sims (15) decided to leave the north snow couloir on Symmetry Spire due to their limited experience on snow. Sims led the first pitch on the rock until it became too difficult. Feldman then took the lead, climbing about 15 feet above his belayer. He did not place protection and fell off landing about 15 feet below his belayer, for a total fall of 30 feet. He apparently hit his elbow while falling and also fractured his ankle as he hit. Sims then went for help, alerting the Jenny Lake Rangers at 1700. The Grand Teton National Park Rescue Team reached the scene at 2100 on 26 July and the evacuation was completed at 0600 on 27 July.

Source: Pete Hart, GTNP.

Analysis: The accident could have been prevented if the climbers had stayed on the snow which was considerably easier than the rock they were attempting. On the rock face the accident could have been prevented if Feldman had put in protection above his belayer.

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