• The Cathedral Group from the Teton Park Road

    Grand Teton

    National Park Wyoming

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • 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 »

  • 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 »

Rangers Conduct Challenging Rescue for Off-Trail Hiker

Subscribe RSS Icon | What is RSS
Date: July 23, 2013
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393

Avalanche Canyon was the site of the latest rescue in Grand Teton National Park. Five park rangers performed one of the more physically taxing ground based rescues in the last several years during the afternoon and evening of Monday, July 22. 

Carol Nielsen, 61, of Boulder Colorado sustained an injury somewhere below the very steep talus slope that runs from Lake Taminah to the bottom of Shosoko Falls in the un-trailed canyon. Teton Interagency Dispatch Center was notified of the injured hiker by cell phone around 5 p.m. Nielsen tried to continue her descent, but her injury made it too challenging for her to bear weight. 

Avalanche Canyon has some of the most difficult terrain of any of the mountain canyons in Grand Teton National Park. There is no maintained trail through the canyon so hikers have to "bushwhack" their way through dense marsh and vegetation in the lower part of the canyon. Higher in the canyon, hikers must scramble up long sections of steep scree and boulder fields. 

Due to the challenges of the terrain park rangers were unable to use standard rescue devices such as a wheeled litter to carry Nielsen out of Avalanche Canyon. Instead, rescuers traded off physically caring Nielsen on their backs for short segments, slowly making their way down the canyon. Once they reached the maintained trail near Taggart Lake, rangers placed Nielsen in a wheeled litter to carry her the last 2 miles to the trailhead. 

Both of the Teton Interagency contact helicopters were out of the valley on fire assignments and unavailable. If the incident had occurred earlier in the day or if Nielsen's injuries had been life threatening rangers would have likely sought assistance from a short-haul capable helicopter. 

Park rangers always have a contingency plan in place if they are required to spend the night in the backcountry with an injured person. In this case, rangers were able to successfully complete the rescue Monday night arriving at the trailhead about 11:30 p.m. 

This marks the 17th major search and rescue of 2013 in Grand Teton National Park.

Did You Know?

Tetons from Hurricane Pass, KF

Did you know that Grand Teton National Park was established in both 1929 and 1950? The original 1929 park protected the mountain peaks and the lakes near the base. The boundaries were later expanded in 1950 to include much of the adjacent valley floor.