American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Loss of Control—Voluntary Glissade — Wyoming, Tetons

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1985


Wyoming, Tetons

On September 9, 1984, Gwyne (51) and Marcel Davidson (26) left Surprise Lake at 0600 for a climb of Mount Owen via the Koven route. They reached the summit around 1500. They rappelled off the rock summit block, unroped, and started to glissade the first snow field. Gwyne accelerated quickly on the fast snow, rolled into an arrest position, but was unable to stop his descent. Gwyne slid approximately 50 meters down the snow, hit the rocks at the bottom and continued approximately 10 meters, stopping just short of the cliff band.

Marcel Davidson assisted his father in traversing to the the Koven Couloir, down which they subsequently made five rappels. The party ran out of daylight and spent the night. In the morning, Gwyne was unable to move due to injuries sustained in his fall. Marcel left to get help at 0800. He contacted Ranger Eastman below Surprise Lake at 0950. A rescue was initiated which culminated in the evacuation of Gwyne Davidson via helicopter. (Source: Peter Armington, Ranger, Grand Teton National Park)

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