Two climbers fell to their death Saturday, August 22 on Teewinot Mountain in Grand Teton National Park, while a hiker was injured in a separate incident.
Jenny Lake rangers received a 911 call around 11:15 a.m. from Rebecca Anderson, a 26-year-old resident of Jackson, Wyoming. She had been climbing Teewinot Mountain with two friends when the latter suddenly fell 200 feet below. After yelling their names several time to no avail, she made the call.
The two climbers (27-year-old Tyler Strandberg, originally of Raleigh, North Carolina and 28-year-old Catherine Nix, originally of Port Chester, New York) fell approximately 200 feet just above Teewinot’s “Worshiper” and “Idol” rock towers. Anderson sustained no injuries. Both climbers were pronounced dead on the scene, after park rangers consulted Grand Teton medical director Dr. Will Smith.
After assessing the condition of Strandberg and Nix, rangers evacuated Anderson, who had been stranded on a small ledge. Two rangers climbed for nearly an hour, over severely steep terrain, to reach Anderson. Anderson was short-hauled (transported via helicopter while hanging on a 100-200 foot rope below) with one ranger to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache at 4:19 p.m. for evacuation while the second rappelled back to Strandberg and Nix.
In the meantime, while waiting to evacuate the deceased hikers, rangers received another 911 call. 45-year-old Doug Lawton of Alpine, Wyoming had been hiking in Avalanche Canyon when he accidentally pulled on a loose rock, which dropped and injured his leg. He managed to move a few hundred feet up to level terrain, where he was evacuated via helicopter to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache at 5:16 p.m. Lawton was later transported to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, WY.
The deceased were transported via helicopter (on a long-line) off Teewinot Mountain to Lupine Meadows, where they were then transported to Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue.
The three women were attempting to scale Teewinot Mountain’s East Face, a popular and typically easy climb. Classed as a 4.0 climb, the East Face has exposed rock climbing but requires no in-depth technical knowledge—although caution, prudence, and mountaineering experience is always a plus. It is also frequently climbed without ropes.
Anderson, Strandberg and Nix were climbing without ropes; the fall apparently occurred when the trio encountered difficult terrain and were trying to find a more navigable route.