American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Avalanche, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Mount Moran

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 1994


Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Mount Moran

On July 28, 1993, PM (male—42), MG (female—37), and JG (male— 38) attempted to climb the Skillet Glacier route on Mount Moran.

About 1245, they were about 200 feet below the top of the snow tongue which extends toward the summit from the “Handle” of the Skillet. A soft snow, point release avalanche broke loose a short distance above and swept all three climbers (roped together at 75 foot intervals) down the handle over the rock island and onto the “pan” of the glacier, a distance of about 2,000 vertical feet. During the fall they made repeated attempts to self-arrest but were unsuccessful because of the mass of soft snow which was carrying them down the mountain.

After coming to a stop, they realized that they were in a vulnerable position and moved further down the glacier shortly before another major avalanche covered the spot where they had initially been deposited. They then splinted MG s arm with an old piece of airplane, gathered up their camp and hobbled out to String Lake.

Rangers Dorward and Larson, on a mission to assist a bruised wimp up Paintbrush Canyon, ran into the MG party on the String Lake Trail at 2120. Rangers Rickert and Johnson were then dispatched to drive the injured climbers to the hospital.

MG underwent surgery for a fractured ulna and radius and PM s lacerated arm was sutured. PM also received a severe muscle tear in his left thigh. All three had various bruises and abrasions, but only MG remained hospitalized overnight.

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