Critically Injured Hiker Rescued from the Ellingwood Couloir on Middle Teton
Contact: Jackie Skaggs, 307.739.3393
July 29, 2011
Grand Teton National Park rangers rescued a 20-year-old hiker, who took a tumbling 1,200-foot fall just after 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 29 and sustained critical injuries. Ryan Haymaker of Houston, Texas was glissading down the Ellingwood Couloir on the south side of the Middle Teton when he lost control and hit a rock causing him to flip over and continue head first down the couloir.
A bystander, who witnessed the fall and was nearby, called 911 to report the incident. The 911 call went to the sheriff's office in Rexburg, Idaho, and they transferred the call to Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 10:43 a.m. Three park rangers were flown by a Teton Interagency contract helicopter to a landing zone near Haymaker's location at the bottom of the Ellingwood Couloir. A fourth ranger was flown to the scene shortly after the initial three, and the rangers provided emergency medical care before preparing Haymaker for a helicopter flight to the valley floor.
Haymaker was loaded into the ship and flown to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache, where he was met by a team of emergency medical providers led by Dr. Will Smith, one of the co-medical directors for Grand Teton National Park. Haymaker was stabilized at the rescue cache, and then flown directly on an Air Idaho life flight to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC) in Idaho Falls, Idaho at 1:40 p.m.
Haymaker and his companion had glissaded about one-third of the way down the couloir when the incident occurred. Haymaker was glissading behind his companion when he picked up speed and passed him; shortly after, he hit the first series of rocks. Haymaker did not have a helmet at the time of the incident. Although he was carrying an ice axe and wearing crampons, he was unable to right himself or self arrest.
While Haymaker is from Houston, he has been working seasonally in Jackson Hole.
Rangers remind visitors that snow persists above 9,000 feet. Backcountry users should be in good physical condition and stick to hikes and routes that are within their ability and comfort levels. Appropriate equipment, and the knowledge of how to use it, are essential for a safe trip. Hikers, climbers, and skiers should also note that most accidents involve slips on snow or ice and most often occur on the descent at the end of the day.
Backcountry users are advised to stop in or call a visitor center or ranger station on the day of travel to obtain the most current rail, route and snow conditions.