• The Cathedral Group from the Teton Park Road

    Grand Teton

    National Park Wyoming

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  • Bears are active in Grand Teton

    Black and grizzly bears are roaming throughout the park--near roads, trails and in backcountry areas. Hikers and backcountry users are advised to travel in groups of three or more, make noise and carry bear spray. Visitors must stay 100 yards from bears. More »

  • Area closure in effect for trails in the Jenny Lake Area

    A temporary area closure will be in effect for several trails in the Jenny Lake area due to construction activities involving helicopter-assisted transport of heavy material. The closure will last from October 27 through October 30, and possibly longer. More »

  • Multi-use Pathway Closures

    Intermittent closures of the park Multi-use Pathway System will occur through mid-October during asphalt sealing and safety improvement work. Pathway sections will reopen as work is completed. Follow the link for a map and more information. More »

  • Moose-Wilson Road Status

    The Moose-Wilson Road between the Death Canyon Road and the Murie Center Road is currently open to all traffic. The road may re-close at any time due to wildlife activity. For current road conditions call 307-739-3682. More »

Avalanche Victim’s Body Recovered from Survey Peak

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Date: January 29, 2013
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

Grand Teton National Park rangers were able to recover the body of Nick Gillespie, age 30, of Jackson, Wyoming from Berry Creek canyon at 5 p.m. on January 28. Foggy conditions throughout most of Monday prevented earlier attempts to complete the mission before late afternoon. Rangers also concluded their investigation of the avalanche event that took his life on Sunday afternoon. Gillespie, a long-time seasonal employee of Grand Teton, was caught in an avalanche on the southeast face of Survey Peak (elevation 9,277 feet) at approximately 5 p.m. on Sunday, January 27, and he died as a result of injuries suffered in the slide.   

Gillespie and three companions skied into Berry Creek canyon in the northern Teton Range on Thursday, January 24, intending to do a multi-day backcountry ski trip. On Sunday afternoon, Gillespie and one companion skied a run on the southeast face of Survey Peak. They then returned with a third member of their party to ski a final run. During that final run, the group planned to ski at one-minute intervals and fan out across the treed slopes. Gillespie was the last person to ski, and is believed to have triggered the avalanche that caught him. Gillespie was carried approximately 220 feet into trees where he was pinned and left partially buried with his head and one arm above the snow. The total slide path spanned 540 feet. The second skier encountered fresh avalanche debris, and believing that the first skier may have triggered it, immediately initiated a beacon search. He also called out and heard the first skier respond from below. He skied down to the first skier and learned that she was unaware of the avalanche. He then immediately skinned back up the slope to search with his avalanche beacon for Gillespie. He located Gillespie about 20 minutes after the accident occurred and initiated CPR. He was joined by the two other members of the party and in total, they performed CPR for approximately 1 ½ hours with no success. 

Due to the remote area and spotty cell service, Gillespie's companions were not able to make an emergency call for help until late evening. Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received notice of the incident at 9 p.m. on Sunday. Because of the late hour and confirmation that Gillespie did not revive during CPR, rangers made arrangements to recover Gillespie's companions and his body during daylight hours on Monday, January 28. The surviving party of three stayed the night in a National Park Service patrol cabin located about one mile from Survey Peak. 

Four rangers were flown into Berry Creek canyon at 11 a.m. Monday and two of the skiers were flown out during the single flight. Deteriorating weather conditions halted additional flights until late afternoon when Gillespie's body plus one of his partners and all rescue personnel were flown out of the backcountry just before nightfall.   

The avalanche danger on Sunday, January 27 was listed as low for mid-elevation terrain. The crown of the avalanche on Survey Peak occurred at 8,405 feet. 

Rangers recommend that backcountry users get the latest avalanche conditions and monitor both local weather and changing snow conditions. Backcountry users should also be prepared for all aspects of backcountry travel and travel with others, plus carry basic avalanche equipment such as a shovel, avalanche probe, avalanche beacon, and first aid kit. For local avalanche conditions visit www.jhavalanche.org or call 307.733.2664.

Did You Know?

Pika with a mouth full of grass

Did you know that pikas harvest grasses so they can survive the long cold winter? These small members of the rabbit family do not hibernate, but instead store their harvest as “haystacks” under rocks in the alpine environment.