42-year-old Exum mountain guide Gary Falk fell to his death while guiding clients on the Grand Teton on Saturday. New information has revealed that Gary had unclipped from an anchor at the top of the Owen-Spalding rappel to free a piece of gear that had become stuck. The piece of gear was a rappel device that was being raised to Gary. The rappel device became wedged in a rock. Gary unclipped to retrieve the rappel device and fell 2,400 feet to his death.
“Falk unclipped his tether from the anchor to reposition himself. … It appears that Falk fell as he was trying to free the wedged rappel device.” – Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Denise Germann told the Jackson Hole News & Guide
After Gary’s fall, a call was placed to the Teton Interagency Dispatch at 10:30am. Search and rescue was activated.
Two rangers were flown onto the mountain to retrieve Gary’s body. Gary’s body was extracted via long line helicopter.
Another Exum guide helped Gary’s clients down the mountain to safety.
Gary was a family man with two small boys and a wife. He’d guided for Exum for 12 years. He spent summer in Jackson Hole and winters in the San Juan mountains of southwest Colorado.
“Everyone is devastated. It’s a very tight-knit community. It’s hard to lose one of us. … He was a great guy. He was the father of two young boys, loved by everyone and will be greatly missed.” – Exum co-owner Cyndi Hargis
In honor of Gary, Exum took one day off on Sunday to pay their respects and mentally digest this enormous loss.
“Everyone is kind of regrouping. We will go back tomorrow.” – Exum co-owner Cyndi Hargis
Please consider donating to Gary Falk’s memorial fund to help his family.