Seasonal road closures in effect
Seasonal road closures are in effect for motorized vehicles. The Teton Park Road is closed from the Taggart Lake Trailhead to the Signal Mountain Lodge. The Moose-Wilson Road is closed from the Granite Canyon Trailhead to the Death Canyon Road. More »
Avalanche hazards exist in the park
Avalanche hazards exist in the park, especially in mountain canyons and on exposed slopes. A daily avalanche forecast can be found at www:jhavalanche.org or by calling (307) 733-2664. More »
Rangers Rescue Stranded Snowboarder and Snowshoers from Backcountry on Same Day
Contact: Jackie Skaggs, (307) 739-3393
January 9, 2011
Grand Teton National Park rangers and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrollers conducted a search and rescue operation for a stranded snowboarder in the backcountry of Granite Canyon during the early evening hours of Friday, January 7. Steven Sprague, age 20, from Rapid City, South Dakota, took a wrong turn and inadvertently entered Grand Teton’s backcountry after exiting an out-of-bounds gate at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort at approximately 4:20 p.m.
Sprague and his two snowboarding partners intended to traverse into Cody Bowl on Friday afternoon. They exited the out-of-bounds gate at the top of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and entered Granite Canyon, instead of turning south where they had planned to snowboard. Sprague’s partners, realizing that they were off course, attempted to alert Sprague by shouting at him to stop; however, Sprague was unable to hear his companions cries because he was wearing earphones for an iPod. Shortly after, Sprague’s companions alerted patrol staff from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort of the situation, and a search and rescue operation was initiated.
Park rangers used snowmobiles from Death Canyon trailhead on Moose-Wilson Road, and then mounted skis to access Granite Canyon. Meanwhile, patrol staff from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort skied into Granite Canyon from the summit of Rendezvous Mountain. Patrol staff were first to reach the stranded snowboarder at approximately 6:20 p.m. as rangers continued their ascent into the canyon. Sprague was in good physical condition, but was not prepared to spend the night in the backcountry as he did not have extra clothing, food, basic emergency gear or shelter. At approximately 10:30 p.m., park rangers transported Sprague and the ski patrollers by snowmobile to the Granite Canyon trailhead, where the group was then transported by waiting resort personnel to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
As rescuers worked to locate the stranded snowboarder, Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call at approximately
Backcountry users are cautioned to be prepared with the knowledge, skills, and emergency equipment necessary to safely recreate in the park’s backcountry areas before attempting a winter excursion. Park rangers advise anyone recreating in the park during winter to bring along extra clothing, high energy snacks and water as emergency gear in the event that they are required to spend more time than anticipated in the backcountry. Rangers also advise people to consider their physical limitations and time restrictions when choosing s destination, and to bring a map of the area and know how to use it before setting out.
Park rangers also remind backcountry users to pay special attention to avalanche and weather conditions before entering remote areas outside of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boundaries.
Did You Know?
Did you know that Jenny and Leigh Lakes are named for the fur trapper “Beaver” Dick Leigh and his wife Jenny (not pictured)? Beaver Dick and Jenny assisted the Hayden party that explored the region in 1872. This couple impressed the explorers to the extent that they named the lakes in their honor.