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Fall on Rock, Party Separated, Exceeding Abilities, Inexperience, Wyoming, Tetons

FALL ON ROCK, PARTY SEPARATED, EXCEEDING ABILITIES, INEXPERIENCE

Wyoming, Tetons

On July 21-23,1980, Matthew Maloney (22) and Phillippe Fayoux (22) were on a two-day backpacking trip in Death Canyon and Alaska Basin. While hiking the trail from Alaska Basin east toward the Whitegrass Ranger Station on July 23, the pair encountered hikers who said that Buck Mountain was an easy climb and something that should not be missed. The hikers had undoubtedly mistaken Static Peak for Buck Mountain. Maloney and Fayoux hiked to Buck Mountain and began to ascend the southwest couloir. About halfway up, Maloney decided that because of the difficulty, he would not go on. Fayoux wanted to continue to the summit, so the pair decided to meet at their vehicle at the Whitegrass Ranger Station. Maloney returned and waited for Fayoux until 10 a.m., July 24. At this time, Maloney reported Fayoux’s disappearance to the Jenny Lake Ranger Station. A search was begun, and at 1:30 p.m. on July 27, the body of Phillippe Fayoux was found by a team consisting of a park ranger and a search dog with handler. Fayoux had presumably fallen from near the summit approximately 1,800 feet down the northwest couloir of Buck Mountain into the south fork of Avalanche Canyon. The body was evacuated by the Grand Teton National Park Rescue Team and a helicopter at 4:30 p.m. on July 27. (Source. Ralph Tingey, Grand Teton National Park)

Analysis

While not a climbing accident per se, this is another classic description of hikers who end up in mountaineering situations far beyond their abilities. (Source: J. Williamson)