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Loss of Control—Voluntary Glissade, Unroped — Wyoming, Tetons


Wyoming, Tetons

On July 7, 1984, Jean Nuetzel (29) was walking down Hanging Canyon Trail with an injured hand when I made contact with her. She explained that she had been practicing self-arrest with an ice ax on the snow slopes above Arrowhead Pool in Hanging Canyon at 0830. When she was descending, she slipped and was unable to arrest before hitting some exposed rocks on the snow slope. The victim said she slid approximately 20 meters before hitting the rocks. She scraped her knee, had a cut over her left eye, and an abrasion on her left lower quadrant. I cleaned her cuts, but the victim refused any first aid for her left hand, which appeared to be severely broken. I advised she go to St. John’s Hospital in Jackson as soon as she got down. The victim and party walked out on their own.

A few days after this incident, I contacted St. John’s Hospital and was informed that the victim required surgery on her left hand and three pins were placed in the metacarpal of the little finger. (Source: Jim Woodmancy, Ranger, Grand Teton National Park)


Most glissading accidents result in injury because the outrun is abrupt. The glissader hopes to stop before coming to rocks, moats, or ice. If one is not well skilled in glissading technique, using a rope and even a walking descent should be considered. One can practice glissading roped. But best of all is to find a glissading area with a flat snow outrun. (Source: J. Williamson)