Rangers Recover Body of Deceased Climber, Rescue Stranded Climbing Partner
Grand Teton Nat’l Park – Park rangers responded Sunday night and Monday morning to recover the body of a deceased climber and rescue his stranded partner. The climber fell approximately 300 feet while rappelling down Guide’s Wall on the north side of Cascade Canyon. The deceased climber was indentified as Marco Dees, age 33 from New Paltz, New York, and the Netherlands. The rescued climbing partner was identified as Grace Mooney, age 24 of Madison, Wisconsin.
Rangers first became aware of the incident around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, July 22, when two hikers contacted Teton Interagency Dispatch Center via 911. The hikers were exiting Cascade Canyon shortly after sunset when they saw light from a headlamp and heard calls for help.
A team of two rangers responded by foot to the location, about two miles west of Jenny Lake, to assess the situation. The rangers made limited verbal contact with the stranded climber and learned that she was uninjured, able to spend the night at her location, and alone. Based on this information and darkness, the stranded climber remained at her location for the night and the rangers returned to the valley.
A second team of two rangers responded early Monday morning and began to climb at first light. Once the rangers accessed the stranded climber, they learned that she had a climbing partner and he had fallen the previous day. The rangers scanned the terrain below and located the body of the deceased climber. The rangers assisted the stranded climber down the wall and back to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache while a third team of three rangers prepared to recover the body of the deceased and conduct an investigation.
The three rangers climbed one pitch and located the deceased in a gully just west of Guide’s Wall. After assessing the condition of the deceased and conducting a preliminary investigation, the rangers prepared the body for extraction by helicopter long line. The deceased was flown to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache around noon and transferred to the Teton County Coroner.
The incident continues to be under investigation. Rangers are investigating the condition and positon of the climbers’ gear, the configuration of the rappel, and other factors that may have contributed to the fall.