Colorado Man Falls to his Death in Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park rangers recovered the body of Edward Tom, 40, of Boulder Colorado on Saturday, September 7, 2013. Tom fell to his death Friday evening September 8 in Garnet Canyon while scouting for a campsite following a storm with heavy rain and hail.
Tom and his climbing partner intended to spend Friday night at a backcountry camping area known as the Petzoldt Caves before climbing the Grand Teton (13,770 feet) on Saturday. Tom was in the Caves area looking for a campsite when he apparently fell over a nearby cliff band.
Multiple 911 calls were placed just before 6 p.m. Friday to report a man who fell nearly 100 feet and who was unconscious when bystanders got to him. Two physicians in the area, rappelled to Tom's location, and with the help of bystanders, attempted to provide emergency medical care.
Three park rangers were flown into the Meadows of Garnet Canyon arriving on scene just after 7 p.m. Teton Interagency dispatchers and rescuers used text messages to communicate with the bystanders on scene due to challenges with phone reception. This allowed park rangers to have a better understanding of what was happening and to provide support remotely until they arrived on scene. CPR efforts were underway when rangers arrived but efforts were terminated shortly thereafter. Due to lingering weather and fading light rangers determined they would need to complete the recovery operation the following day.
Saturday morning, four park rangers were flown to a nearby landing zone in Garnet Canyon. One ranger served as a lookout for rockfall while the three others completed the recovery and scene investigation. Using a Teton Interagency contract helicopter, rangers then flew Tom's body from Garnet Canyon to the parks rescue cache at Lupine Meadows where his body was turned over to the Teton County Coroner at 11:40 a.m. Recovery operations were delayed Saturday morning due to weather in the Jackson Hole valley.
This incident remains under investigation and no additional details are available at this time. A large and strong storm cell moved across the Teton Range Friday between 4 and 6 p.m. producing gusty winds, heavy rain, and hail.