GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. Rangers rescued an injured Salt Lake City woman from near the summit of the 13,770-foot-high Grand Teton after she lost control and fell while rappelling.
Rangers used a helicopter Thursday to airlift Merry Carny, 46, from near the Upper Saddle, which is about 700 feet below the summit. She had several broken bones, park officials said.
Carny and her husband had reached the summit at 12:30 p.m. after climbing the Exum Ridge. She was on the normal overhanging descent rappel when she lost control, picked up speed, slid 50 feet down the rope and crashed into rocks below, park officials reported. Though she landed on her feet, abruptly, she fell backward and injured her leg, side and back, they said.
The rappel is a standard mountaineering technique for descending by sliding down ropes, usually with feet against the rock. Climbers control their speed by applying more or less friction on the rope with a braking hand.
Off the Grand, about 60 feet of the normal descent rappel is free, meaning the climber is dangling in the air, below an overhang, with no contact with the rock. Carny could not maintain enough friction to keep her descent under control, park officials said.
Neither she nor her husband was wearing a helmet. They used a cell phone to call for help at 1:30 p.m.
Climbing rangers used a helicopter to ferry team members to both the lower and upper saddles of the mountain. They performed first aid, and placed her in a litter and airlifted her to the valley floor at about 4:30 p.m.
It returned to the Lower Saddle to pick up her husband.