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Fall on Snow, Unable to Self-Arrest, Illness, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Grand Teton


Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Grand Teton

On June 25 at 1300, Exum Guide Jim Kanzler reported to park dispatch via cellular phone an accident in Garnet Canyon. According to Kanlzer, Paul Newman (38) had sustained injuries in a 500 foot fall down snow at the Lower Saddle headwall. Newmans partner, Moir Bowman (38), was able to assist him down to the Garnet Meadows where he reportedly collapsed in pain. Newman's chief complaint was severe pain the lower back and hip, with a “grating sensation” on movement.

Rescue coordinator Mark Magnuson requested the park contract helicopter, which arrived at Lupine Meadows at 1330. Ranger Eric Gabriel responded to the scene from the Lower Saddle, arriving about 1335. Ranger Bill Culbreath responded from the summit of Disappointment Peak, arriving at 1345. After obtaining patient information from Gabriel and consultation with medical control, Lanny Johnson, rangers Leo Larson and George Montopoli were flown to the Garnet Meadows with medical equipment. Newman was immobilized in a full body vacuum splint, placed on a backboard, and carried a short distance to the helicopter. He was flown from the scene to St. John's Hospital, arriving at 1455. Newman was treated for severe, deep contusions to his lower back and hip.


According to Newman's climbing partner, the two had ascended to the Lower Saddle from their campsite on the Moraine early that morning. As Newman was not feeling well, they decided to return to camp. At the top of the Lower Saddle headwall, which was covered with steep, hard snow, Newman removed his crampons and initiated a glissade. Losing control and unable to self-arrest, he slid approximately 500 feet down the headwall, “tumbling” several times near the bottom until he came to rest at the runout of the slope. Newman was able to stand and, with assistance, self-evacuate down to the Garnet Meadows where he was unable to continue due to the pain. (Source: Mark Magnuson, SAR Coordinator)