American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fall on Snow — Near Miss, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Mount Moran, Skillet Glacier

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 2010

FALL ON SNOW – NEAR MISS

Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Mount Moran, Skillet Glacier

On June 2nd, a woman (20+) was ascending the Skillet Glacier with her male friend with intentions of skiing the Skillet Col. Both were wearing backpacks with skis on their packs, no helmets, unknown if they had crampons and axes, but I’m guessing they did. Near the top of the Skillet the woman lost her footing or fell backwards. She tumbled 1,200 feet down the Skillet, a fall that is commonly referred to as “Tomahawking.” There were two other skiers at the top that were waiting for her and her friend to top out before they began their decent. They were already in their skis as they saw her fall. One of the two skied down to her right away to assess her injuries. She was beat up but able to ski out on her own and didn’t report the incident. Occasionally we hear about some spectacular near-miss incident days later and never hear anything more. This information was relayed to me in rumor format, so I don’t know any more than that. (Source: Chris Harder, GTNP Ranger)

(Editor’s Note: Spectacular slides down the Skillet Glacier used to be an annual event, especially popular among young people working summer jobs at the various concessions. Thanks to an education program, these events are now infrequent. But when they happen, they are worth mentioning and becoming part of the orientation for seasonal workers.)

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