American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Snow, Wyoming, Tetons

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1984

FALL ON SNOW

Wyoming, Tetons

After climbing Mount Owen via the Northeast Snowfields, Jeff Selleck (26) and his climbing partner, John Richardson, began descending the Koven Couloir. Forty- five meters into the couloir, Selleck slipped out of a plunge step and began falling. Initial attempts to self-arrest with an ice ax failed, and Selleck fell approximately 60 meters before bringing himself to a complete stop. The fall covered mixed snow and rock. A sprain to the left thumb, an open fracture to the right thumb, and contusions to the left knee and chin were incurred in the fall. Selleck and his partner were able to reach the trailhead under their own power and seek additional medical help at St.John’s Hospital in Jackson. (Source: Leo L. Larson, Ranger, Grand Teton National Park)

Analysis

The Koven Couloir is deceptive. It is much steeper than it appears to be, and has been the location of many accidents due to falls of this type. In this fall, Selleck’s

injuries would have been more serious had he not been wearing a helmet. (Source: Craig Patterson, Ranger, Grand Teton National Park)

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