Grand Teton National Park’s Jenny Lake Rangers recently conducted two overnight search and rescue efforts.
The first rescue operation began around 5:15 p.m. Monday, August 7, when a patrolling ranger in Garnet Canyon was informed by other mountaineers of an accident which had taken place near the saddle of the south fork of the canyon. Carl Miester, 46, of East Windsor, NJ was descending a snow field near the Middle Teton with five others when he slipped, fell, and slid approximately 50 feet on snow before tumbling across 20 feet of rock and sustaining minor injuries. He did not have an ice ax or helmet.
The ranger responded to the scene, assessed Miester’s injuries, and assisted him down to the Meadows backcountry camping zone where Miester spent the night with his party. Another ranger met up with the party the next morning as they descended the trail and assisted them the rest of the way to Lupine Meadows Trailhead.
The second and more complex rescue operation began around 2:00 a.m. Tuesday, August 8 when Ron Sloot, 58, of Colfax, WA and Geoff Mitchell, 35, of Spartanburg, SC called for help. After summiting Mt. Moran around 4:30 p.m. Monday, the two climbers began to descend the commonly-used CMC route. Around 9:00 p.m., after the fourth rappel, they realized they had taken a wrong turn, used an old anchor point, and were now off-route. The climbers spent several hours searching in the dark for a traverse, climb, or rappel out of their predicament before calling Teton Interagency Dispatch Center and being connected with the on-call search and rescue coordinator.
After consulting with the stranded climbers, the coordinator advised they stay in their current location until sunrise. Once it became clear the climbers would not be able to self-rescue in the daylight, rangers prepared the Teton Interagency Contract helicopter for short-haul. Unfortunately, inclement weather precluded use of the helicopter until mid-afternoon.
Around 3:00 p.m., a ranger was inserted to the ledge where the two climbers were waiting. After preparing the climbers for the flight, the ranger and climbers were flown out by short-haul and returned to Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache around 3:30 p.m.