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Fall on Rock, Rope Jammed — So Slack in Rope, Failure to Follow Instructions, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Guides Wall

FALL ON ROCK, ROPE JAMMED – SO SLACK IN ROPE, FAILURE TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS

Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Guides Wall

In mid-June around 1400, Dagmar Rapp (47) was being guided up the Double Crack on guides Wall and was on the Flake Pitch. The guide had combined the last two pitches and was belaying from the top of the last pitch. The rope above Rapp had become jammed in a crack, so as she ascended, slack increased in the rope. The guide, feeling the rope tight, did not know the slack was developing and assumed Rapp was not moving. When Rapp was ten to 15 feet above the ledge she fell, landing on the ledge on her left flank. Another party informed the guide that she had an injured client. She lowered her second client to the ledge, and then belayed up a private (nonguided), good climber to her so that the pitch could be cleaned. The guide rappelled the normal descent route and walked back around the ledge to her clients

She then called park dispatch for assistance. SAR Coordinator James Springer received the call and paged out the Jenny Lake Rangers at 1445. Helicopter 25HX arrived at Lupine Meadows rescue cache at 1514. During this time rangers Vidak, Hays, and Armitage were directed to travel from their location at the base of Symmetry Spire to the start of technical climbing of Guides Wall. They arrived at the base of the wall at 1615.

Ranger Guenther was inserted by helicopter to the scene at 1620. Guenther evaluated the patient and determined she could be evacuated using the Screamer Suit. The patient and ranger Guenther were extracted from the ledge and landed on the ground at the Lupine Meadows Cache at 1705. Rapp was transported to St. Johns Hospital via park ambulance. (Source: Ranger Jim Springer – Incident Commander)

Analysis

Dagmar Rapp is an experienced climber who sometimes prefers to go with a guide. She was aware of the slack in the rope, but thought that she could complete the pitch without a mishap. She was not following the basic protocol of not climbing until the belay rope was snug. The guide’s assumption that Rapp was not moving was logical. (Source: Jed Williamson)