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Loss of Control—Voluntary Glissade, Poor Position, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Disappointment Peak


Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Disappointment Peak

On July 17, 1992, at 1615, a climber (29) was descending the Lake Ledges route on Disappointment Peak when he fell as he was attempting to glissade down a small patch of snow and was unable to perform a self-arrest since his ice axe was strapped to his pack at the time. After sliding about 30 to 40 feet, he impacted the rocks below the snow with his left foot. His partner started down and was able to report the accident at the Jenny Lake ranger station at 1750.

The Bridger Teton contract helicopter was requested at 1800 and four rescue team members were assembled for the operation. At 1855 rangers Irvine and Springer were flown to the landing site at Amphitheater Lake. Rangers Kimbrough and Johnson followed a short time later with the remainder of the rescue gear. The victim was evaluated, packaged and carried by litter to the landing site, where he was picked up by helicopter and flown to Lupine Meadows, then transported to hospital. He had fractured his left fibula.


This is another example of the most common mechanism of injury in the park's backcountry; that is, a slip on snow—or a deliberate glissade—followed by the inability to stop oneself. (Source: Renny Jackson, SAR Ranger, Grand Teton National Park)

(Editor’s Note: There were five such accidents in 1992, not all of which appear in the narrative section. One of them involved a 100 foot slide—voluntary, with no ice axe—that resulted in only a minor injury.)