Exum Guide Falls to His Death

By on July 23, 2016
The Jackson Hole community grieves with the news of Gary Falk's death in Grand Teton National Park.

The Jackson Hole community grieves with the news of Gary Falk’s death in Grand Teton National Park.

Jackson Hole, WY –

UPDATE…July 24, 7:40 p.m.

After interviewing members of the party with Gary Falk, an investigation has revealed more details on the Exum guide’s fatal fall.

Falk had guided four clients to a successful summit of the Grand and was on the way back down when tragedy struck. The first client rappelled down the Owen-Spalding route without incident. When the rappel device was shuttled back up to Falk it become wedged on something.

Witnesses say Falk unclipped his tether from the anchor to reposition himself to get at the stuck rappel. Falk had no other backup means of tethering himself to the mountain in place when he fell trying to free the jammed gear.

Park Rangers are continuing their investigation. A full report is expected in 30 days.


Exum mountain guide Gary Falk was leading a group of clients to summit the Grand Teton when he fell on descent from the top of the Owen Spalding rappel into Valhalla Canyon near the Black Ice Couloir. Falk fell approximately 2,400 feet. His body was recovered via helicopter longline. Teton County coroner Brent Blue declared Falk deceased Saturday afternoon.

Grand Teton National Park rangers received the call at approximately 10:30 Saturday morning. Falk’s body was recovered later that day.

Falk, 42, was originally from Ouray, Colorado. He worked for Exum Mountain Guides for the past 12 years. He leaves behind a wife and two young sons.

“The Teton Guiding community is devastated with this loss. Gary was a diligent guide, always the consummate professional,” said Nat Patridge, Exum president and co-owner. “Exum is grieving from this news and struggling to comprehend the situation. All Exum operations will be closed Sunday out of honor and respect for Gary. Our love goes out to Kate and their sons.”


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