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Fall on Snow, Unroped, Inexperience, Wyoming, Tetons

FALL ON SNOW, UNROPED, INEXPERIENCE

Wyoming, Tetons

On August 11, 1981, about 6:00 p.m., Travis Plunkett (22) slipped on a snow patch in the south fork of Garnet Canyon while descending from the Middle Teton. Plunkett slid about 100 feet and hit some rocks at the base of the snow, damaging his left ankle. Olsen and Plunkett reached the Garnet Meadows and camped there that night. About 7:00 p.m. on August 12, Ranger Bob Irvine administered first aid and contacted the Jenny Lake Ranger Station for transportation. Ranger Tom Owen met Plunkett at the Garnet Platforms with horses and transported him to Lupine Meadows. Plunkett was driven to St. John’s Hospital by Olsen at 3:30 p.m. (Source: Tom Kimbrough, Grand Teton National Park)

Analysis

During the 1981 summer in the Tetons, falls on snow accounted for five injuries and one death, all to climbers of moderate or little experience. Perhaps our emphasis on high standards of rock and ice climbing have left the hazards of a 35-degree snow slope unrespected by beginning mountaineers. (Source: Craig Patterson, Ranger, Grand Teton National Park)