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Contact: Denise Germann, 307 739 3393
Grand Teton National Park staff rescued three injured hikers over the past weekend. All backcountry hikers and climbers are strongly encouraged to be prepared for their respective recreational activity, including knowledge about the current conditions, required skills and experience, and wayfinding skills to safety navigate the route.
Hiking areas such as the Teton Crest Trail, Alaska Basin, Paintbrush-Cascade Canyon Loop, or any other loop involving higher elevation mountain passes still involve a large amount of snow travel. Appropriate footwear and an ice axe are mandatory. Expect snow travel above 9,500 feet and difficulty navigating snow-covered trails at higher elevations.
Ascents of the Grand and other high peaks require boots or sturdy footwear, ice axe and crampons to safely ascend and descend. Although the Upper Exum and Owen-Spalding routes on the Grand are beginning to dry out, expect alpine conditions, including snow, ice, and wet rock. Be mindful of any recent precipitation and freezing temperatures at higher elevations.
For more information, please visit with a park backcountry office, the Jenny Lake Ranger Station and http://tetonclimbing.blogspot.com/ prior to departing into the backcountry.
This past weekend Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call regarding an injured hiker above the three-mile junction on the Surprise/Amphitheater trail on Saturday, July 11 at about 2:15 p.m. Jeremy Fraser, 31 years of age from New York, New York, was hiking when he had a misstep and injured his lower leg and was unable to move on his own. A backcountry ranger in the area responded, attended to the injury and determined Fraser would need to be transported to the Lupine Meadows parking area by trail wheel litter. Additional backcountry rangers arrived on scene about 3:30 p.m. with medical gear and equipment. Fraser was secured in a wheel litter and transported to the trailhead. His hiking partner transported Fraser to St. John’s Heath in Jackson.
A few hours later on Saturday, July 11, Teton Interagency Dispatch receive another emergency call about 7:30 p.m. regarding an injured hiker who fell about 500 feet down steep snow on the east slopes of Paintbrush Divide. Samantha Edgcombe and Mackenzie Finton, both 19 years of age and from Grand Blanc, Michigan, were hiking from Cascade Canyon to Paintbrush Canyon over Paintbrush Divide when they each slipped on snow and slid, crashing into large rocks. Another hiker in the area called for help and provided a GPS location. Initially it was believed only one of the hikers was significantly injured, but both were. The Teton Interagency Helicopter transported two rangers to the area and each hiker was short-hauled with a ranger to Lupine Meadows, and then transported via park ambulance to St. John’s Health Care.
Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual or individuals, often with gear, are suspended below the helicopter on a 150 to 250 foot rope. This method allows a rescuer more direct access to an injured party, and it is often used in the Teton Range where conditions make it difficult to land a helicopter in the steep and rocky terrain.
Last updated: July 13, 2020