Two Mountain Rescues in the Grand Tetons

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.
[NPS Story]

 

 

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Woman Resuscitated in Grand Tetons

Grand Teton National Park rangers and staff responded to a medical emergency at the Jenny Lake boat ramp today at approximately 1 p.m. A 29-year old female from West Fargo, North Dakota, was in the area with her husband and three children when she went into cardiac arrest.

Jenny Lake ferry launch

A bystander, a nurse, immediately began cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Several calls were made to 911 and park dispatch requesting medical help. A park ranger responded to the scene within four minutes of the call and took over chest compressions followed closely by park emergency medical service personnel who used a defibrillator and advanced life support interventions. Additional park rangers and staff responded to the area to help manage the scene.

The woman regained a heartbeat and breathing. A park ambulance transported her to Lupine Meadows where Air Idaho Rescue Helicopter was waiting to transport her to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
[NPS Story]

Successful Mountain Rescue in Grand Tetons

Grand Teton National Park rangers conducted a rescue for a snow climber who fell after slipping and falling on snow Monday afternoon. Robert Henderson, 68, of Wilson, WY was descending the Southeast Ridge of Disappointment Peak when he fell. Rangers responded quickly to the scene and transported Henderson to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson, WY.

The southeast ridge of Disappointment Peak

Henderson’s fall, which took place just before 1:30 p.m., was witnessed from below by two hikers in the Amphitheater Lake area. Those hikers were the first to call Teton Interagency Dispatch Center and report the accident. Shortly thereafter, Henderson’s climbing partner, Dan Matzke of Moose, WY, called the dispatch center and reported that Henderson had lost his footing and slid on the snow before disappearing from view. Henderson’s fall carried him a total of 400 feet downhill, including a 60-80 foot cliff, to a location amongst snow and trees approximately 300 feet above Amphitheater Lake.

A ranger who was climbing on Disappointment Peak met up with Matzke, assisted him on the technical descent to Amphitheater Lake, and reached Henderson’s location at about 3:00 pm. The ranger assessed Henderson, who was alert but had suffered leg and shoulder injuries. Matzke continued downhill with a bystander.

At 4:20 p.m., the Teton Interagency Contract Helicopter inserted two rangers to Henderson’s location via short-haul. The rangers loaded Henderson into a rescue litter and prepared him for extraction by short-haul. One ranger attended Henderson during the short flight out to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache at 5:11 p.m. He was transferred to a park ambulance and transported to St. John’s. The helicopter returned to retrieve the remaining two rangers.

Though Henderson and Matzke were planning to climb on snow and had all the necessary gear to do so, park rangers recognize that many visitors to the Tetons may not be expecting wintertime conditions in June. Rangers advise that elevations above 9,000 feet are mostly still snow-covered, and appropriate knowledge and experience using an ice ax and crampons is necessary for traversing steep terrain.
[Local News Story]

Snowboarder Rescued in Grand Tetons

Grand Teton National Park rangers, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrol, and the Teton County Search and Rescue helicopter coordinated a rescue effort for Alex Thompson, 26, of Jackson, Wyoming on Sunday, April 9 after he was caught in a soft slab avalanche in Granite Canyon.

Thompson was snowboarding in the park’s backcountry with three companions after exiting an open backcountry access gate at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski area. Thompson was traversing across the top of Air Force Couloir when the slab broke above him. The sliding snow carried him approximately 1,000 feet downhill until he came to a rest atop the snow. Thompson suffered injuries during the fall due to collisions with rocks.

One of Thompson’s companions called Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrol around 11:30 a.m. shortly after the slide. Ski patrol launched initial rescue efforts and called the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center as the incident was within park boundaries. Three ski patrollers skied down to Thompson’s location with a rescue toboggan and medical gear. They assessed Thompson’s condition and prepared him for ski-toboggan transport to the bottom of Granite Canyon and eventual aerial rescue.

NPS Report

Grand Tetons Skier Rescued

Grand Teton National Park rangers and Teton County Sheriff’s Department Search and Rescue members saved the life of a backcountry skier with resuscitation efforts on Friday evening, March 3.

The skier, Mike Connolly, age 61, from Idaho Falls, was skiing with three other family members and friends when the incident occurred.

Connolly went into cardiac arrest while rescuers were flying to the scene, and as the rescuers arrived, CPR efforts were in progress by the other members of the party. Connolly had no pulse, and was not breathing. Rescue personnel used an automated defibrillator shocking Connolly one time.  He successfully regained a pulse and began breathing. A short time later he was able to verbally communicate to those around him.

A family member, search and rescue members, supplies and equipment were short-hauled from the scene. A park ranger skied with the remaining members of the skiing party and safely returned to a trailhead parking area along the Moose-Wilson Road.

 

Official National Park Service Report

Idaho State Journal News Story