American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Slip on Rock — Boulder Field, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Garnet Canyon Boulder Field

  • Accident Reports
  • Accident Year:
  • Publication Year: 2011

SLIP ON ROCK – BOULDER FIELD

Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Garnet Canyon Boulder Field

On July 22, in the early afternoon, I received a call from Exum Mountain Guide Trevor Deighton. He said that a member of his party had sustained an isolated right lower leg injury while descending through the Boulder Field in Garnet Canyon. The patient, Scott Hanson (43), had slipped on a rock, trapping his lower leg and causing the injury. Mr. Deighton caught Mr. Hanson before farther injury occurred. Mr. Deighton told me that the accident happened at 1400 and that he had had to hike down canyon over a mile to get cell phone reception to make the report. I told Mr. Deighton to return to the site and that Rangers would be flown to the Meadows in Garnet Canyon to assist.

A briefing and risk assessment were conducted at the Rescue Cache. Rangers Vidak and Schuster were flown to a landing zone in Garnet Canyon and hiked down canyon to the patient by 1530. Ranger Schuster determined that Hanson had an isolated right lower leg injury with a possible fracture. Given the late hour of the day, rescuer fatigue associated with the unrelated, yet ongoing rescue and additional patient stress that would result from an extended evacuation by ground, the decision was made to extract the patient via helicopter short-haul.

Analysis

The Boulder Field in Garnet Canyon requires focus as one moves amongst and around the boulders. Use of hands is required as one lowers from or climbs over the boulders. Some of the granite blocks can be slick.. Whether due to inattention, fatigue, loose rock, and/or a slick foothold, Mr. Hanson unfortunately lost his footing at an inopportune time. (Source: Scott Guenther, Incident Commander)

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