An investigation by Grand Teton National Park Rangers into the death of Exum Mountain Guide Gary Falk on Saturday, July 23, has revealed some information that may have led to this climbing fatality. Through personal interviews with Exum clients and employees, and others that were in the vicinity of the incident, the investigation indicates that all four clients that Falk was leading successfully summited the Grand Teton on Saturday, July 23, 2016.
The first client successfully rappelled down the Owen-Spalding Rappel. The rappel device that the first client used was to be used again, and was sent back up to Falk via rope, but became wedged on the way up. Falk then unclipped his tether from the anchor to reposition himself to better access the wedged rappel device. Witness accounts could not identify alternative methods Falk used to attach himself to the mountain, and it appears that Falk fell as he was trying to free the wedged rappel device.
Park rangers will continue to investigate the fatality, and anticipate a final report in approximately 30 days.