American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Snow, Loss of Control—Voluntary Glissade, Wyoming, Tetons

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

FALL ON SNOW, LOSS OF CONTROL–VOLUNTARY GLISSADE

Wyoming, Tetons

On August 16, Clint Farbow (20), Ted Garner (20), and Joe Bossong (20) were descending from an unsuccessful climb of the Southwest Couloir of the Middle Teton. Farbow was glissading down a snowfield near the saddle between the South and Middle Tetons when he lost control, dropped his ax and slid about 30 meters into the rocks at the bottom of the snow. Bossong and Garner also started to glissade, but when they saw that Farbow had fallen, they stopped and tried to walk to the side of the snowfield. Bossong then fell and slid about 15 meters to the rocks. Farbow suffered contusions and abrasions on his hip and back, while Bossong damaged the ligaments in his right knee.

The group then started to descend and Garner went ahead for help. He reported the accident at the Jenny Lake Ranger Station at 1900. Kjerstad Helicopters was called and arrived at Lupine Meadows at 1940. Ranger Thompson was flown to the meadows in Garnet Canyon at 1945. The victims had by this time been helped down to the meadows in Garnet Canyon by four other climbers. Bossong and Farbow were then flown to Lupine Meadows, arriving there at 2021. A subsequent flight brought Thompson and the victims’ gear to Lupine Meadows at 2031. The victims were transported to St. John’s Hospital in a friend’s car. The accident had occurred at 1700 and the victims arrived at the hospital around 2130. (Source: Robert Irvine, Ranger, Grand Teton National Park)

Analysis

This year, like last, saw a disproportionate number of folks on snow where climbers were unable to self-arrest. Part of the problem is that climbers interested primarily or exclusively in rock climbing have not learned basic techniques in snow and ice, both of which are encountered frequently on approach, descent, and escape routes. Climbers need to be familiar with and equipped for all terrains which may be encountered on a trip. (Source: Craig Patterson, Ranger, Grand Teton National Park)

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