Climber Dies In 2,500-Foot Fall In Grand Teton National Park

A Missouri man inexperienced with climbing in the Tetons has been killed by a fall while attempting to summit Grand Teton in Grand Teton National Park. NPT file photo of the Tetons, with the Grand Teton in the middle.

A Missouri man who intended to climb the Grand Teton in Grand Teton National Park in one day was killed by a fall of roughly 2,500 feet, according to park officials.

Park rangers began searching for Don Ivie, 45, of Springfield, Missouri, after his wife reported him missing Sunday evening shortly before 9 p.m. The man had left shortly before 2 a.m. Sunday for a solo climb of the 13,770-foot peak, a park release said.

After searching for roughly seven hours on Monday, rangers spotted his body on the northwest side of the peak.

Poor weather Monday initially prevented the park from using a contract helicopter to help with the search, and also delayed the response by rangers stationed at a high-elevation hut sited on the Lower Saddle of Grand Teton, park officials said.

Park rangers -- with the help of guides from Exum School of Mountaineering -- initiated a search by foot at 8 a.m. Monday.

"Dense clouds and heavy rain made it difficult to locate the missing man during the morning ground search; however, rangers did locate a small backpack near Grand Teton’s Upper Saddle that they assumed belonged to the missing climber," a park release said. "When weather conditions improved in the afternoon, rangers launched the contract helicopter to conduct an aerial search. They ultimately located Ivie’s body at 1:45 p.m. in Valhalla Canyon, which lies on the northwest flank of the 13,770-foot Grand Teton."

The man's body was flown off the mountain Monday evening to Lupine Meadows, where it was transferred to the Teton County coroner.

Park rangers are investigating the fatal accident; however, because Mr. Ivie was climbing alone, the circumstances surrounding his fall may never be known, the park said. Mr. Ivie’s experience was said to be limited to scrambling peaks with little technical difficulty. None of those climbs occurred in the Tetons, the park said.