Injured Climber Rescued from Death Canyon

August 26, 2009
Park rangers used the assistance of a Teton interagency helicopter to rescue a 23-year-old local man from a climbing route in Death Canyon at Grand Teton National Park on Tuesday, August 25. The climber, a resident of Jackson, Wyoming, and his partner were ascending the first pitch on a route called Caveat Emptor when they pulled off several rocks, causing them to fall about 30-40 feet. Although both climbers were wearing helmets at the time of the incident, one received injuries to his face and shoulder and required evacuation by helicopter.

Two off-duty guides from Exum Mountaineering were climbing in the vicinity at the time of the accident and were able to reach the injured man and make an emergency cell phone call to the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center to alert park personnel of the situation. Rangers responded to the scene on foot and by helicopter and provided emergency medical care to the injured climber.

With the assistance of the two Exum guides, rangers lowered the injured climber to a ledge below a route called the Snaz, where he was then airlifted via short-haul to a landing zone near the Death Canyon patrol cabin. A park ambulance then transported the injured man to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson.

Park rangers salute the Exum Mountain guides for their quick response and assistance during this rescue operation. Other climbers – both professional and amateur – are frequently the first persons on the scene of a backcountry accident; the information they provide to responding rangers, and the assistance they offer, are often instrumental in the positive outcome of a rescue effort.