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Amid stormy weather and with low cloud cover, Grand Teton National Park rangers assisted by a Teton Interagency helicopter rescued a New York man from the Grand Teton Thursday evening, July 5. David Perlman, 28, of Brooklyn, New York was ascending the mountain between the Headwall and Lower Saddle around 6:00 p.m. when several rocks broke free striking him and causing a significant injury.
A member of Perlman's climbing party continued to the Lower Saddle for help. There, two park rangers on a routine backcountry patrol were notified of the incident and immediately initiated a rescue operation. Once on scene, rangers stabilized Perlman's injury and provided emergency medical care. With the help of other climbers in the area, rangers brought Perlman to the park's seasonal hut on the Lower Saddle where they waited for a helicopter to evacuate him from the mountain.
Pearlman was loaded inside the helicopter and flown to Lupine Meadows where he was met by a park ambulance and transported to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, Wyoming for further care. Perlman was on the first day of a two-day guided climb of the mountain when he was injured.
The use of a Teton Interagency helicopter is a great rescue tool that can allow quick, direct, and efficient access to an injured person. However, the use of a helicopter is not always guaranteed. During this rescue, a skilled pilot was able to reach the Lower Saddle through a break in the cloud cover around 12,000 feet, which made the flight possible.
Rangers always have contingency plans in mind in the event a flight is not possible due to weather (cloud cover, precipitation, and wind speed) or other factors like the location of an injured person or time of day. If a flight was not possible for Perlman's rescue, additional rangers would have hiked from the valley floor to the Lower Saddle to assist in caring for Perlman throughout the night.
A seasonal hut is erected for the summer months on the Grand Teton's Lower Saddle and serves as a high altitude base camp to assist park rangers on multi-day backcountry patrols and to facilitate rescue operations in the hub of Teton climbing and mountaineering.