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Injured Skier Rescued from Granite Canyon

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Date: April 8, 2012
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

A 31 year-old backcountry skier was rescued from Granite Canyon in a multi-agency effort on Saturday, April 6, 2012 after sustaining injuries from a fall. Josh Tatman, of Jackson, Wyoming, took a short fall about 300 feet from the top of Endless Couloir just outside the boundary of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

Tatman was skiing alone when he took what was described as a slow twisting fall. Tatman notified Jackson Hole Mountain Resort (JHMR) ski patrol via his cell phone that he was injured and needed help just after 1 p.m. Teton Interagency Dispatch Center in Grand Teton National Park was notified at 1:15 p.m. Grand Teton National Park rangers were flown in the Teton County Search and Rescue (TCSAR) contract helicopter to a landing zone in Granite Canyon where they waited for JHMR ski patrol to lower Tatman to them.

JHMR Ski patrol responded to the scene from the mountain resort, stabilized Tatman's injuries and loaded him into a rescue toboggan before lowering him to the waiting helicopter in Granite Canyon. Tatman was initially lowered by patrollers skiing the toboggan down but due to snow conditions and the terrain rescuers set up a rope belay system and lowered Tatman in six 300-foot segments into the canyon.

Tatman was loaded into the TCSAR contract helicopter and flown to a temporary landing zone at Teton Village where he was met by an ambulance from Jackson Hole Fire/EMS and transported to St. John's Medical Center for treatment. Tatman recently moved to Jackson from Sheridan, Wyoming.

Endless Couloir is on a north facing slope in Granite Canyon and runs almost 3,000 vertical feet on a roughly 40 degree slope. It is unusual for individuals to have cell phone service in that area of Granite Canyon. Tatman did have an avalanche beacon with him but it was in his backpack. Best practice is for individuals to wear avalanche beacons on their person in case they get caught in an avalanche when gear and outer layers of clothing can easily be torn off from the force of the avalanche.

The avalanche danger was listed as low below 9,000 feet and moderate for high elevations on Saturday by the Bridge-Teton Avalanche Center.

Did You Know?

Close-up of a lodgepole pine cone

Did you know that lodgepole pine trees grow on glacial moraines in Jackson Hole? Glacial moraines are ridges of rocky debris left behind as Ice Age glaciers melted. The soil on these ridges retains moisture and is more hospitable to trees than the cobbly, porous soil on the outwash plain.