American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Falling Rock—Dislodged by Climbers Above, Wyoming, Mount Moran,CMC

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2006

FALLING ROCK–DISLODGED BY CLIMBERS ABOVE

Wyoming, Mount Moran, CMC

August 6, Jerry Painter (49), of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and three other climbers were ascending the CMC Route—a popular climbing route on the east face of Mount Moran, rated 5.5—when Painter was struck on the head by a sizable rock that was dislodged by climbers above. The rock broke Painter’s helmet and he sustained injuries to his head and neck. The party was on the first pitch of the climb and had reached an elevation of about 11,500 feet when the accident occurred. Steve Bohrer, also from Idaho Falls and one of Painter’s climbing partners, called for help via cell phone at 9:15 a.m. Rangers immediately began to coordinate a rescue, while the group of climbers moved Painter to a more secure area, out of the way of farther rockfall, until rangers could reach them. Due to the nature of Painter’s injuries, his disoriented state of consciousness, and the group’s remote location, rangers asked for an assist from the interagency helicopter. The helicopter flew four rangers to a staging area on the Falling Ice Glacier, then inserted one of these rangers to Painter’s location using the short-haul method. This ranger loaded Painter into an evacuation suit and attended him while the two were short-hauled back to the staging area at the glacier. Rescue personnel at the glacier moved Painter inside the helicopter for the flight to Lupine Meadows, where a park ambulance was waiting to transport him to St.John’s Medical Center in Jackson. From there, Painter was flown by air ambulance to Idaho Falls for treatment of his head injuries. While Painter sustained serious injuries, his use of a helmet, combined with a rapid evacuation, likely saved his life. (Source: From an NPS Morning Report)

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