Injured Hiker Rescued from Amphitheater Lake

October 11, 2010
Grand Teton National Park rangers rescued an injured hiker from the Amphitheater Lake area on Saturday afternoon, October 10, using the Teton Interagency contract helicopter. Ashley Hymel, age 23, from Moose, Wyoming was hiking with a party of two hikers on a section of trail with a sloping ledge when she fell about 20 feet and landed on her back.

Hymel was hiking on an unmaintained trail near the base of Disappointment Peak from Amphitheater Lake to an overlook of the Teton Glacier when the incident occurred just around 4 p.m. A hiker in a nearby separate party witnessed the entire event and was able to call for help on a cell phone after running down the trail for cell reception. One member of Hymel’s party was able to safely scramble down and assist her until rescuers arrived.

Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received the report at 4:06 p.m. and immediately initiated a short-haul rescue response. Two rangers were flown to a helicopter landing zone near Amphitheater Lake and they hiked a short distance to the accident site. Rangers provided Hymel with emergency medical care, and then placed her into a rescue litter for an aerial evacuation. Just after 6 p.m., Hymel and an attending ranger were flown via short-haul to Lupine Meadows where a park ambulance was waiting to transport her to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson.

Short-haul, a technique to insert rescue personnel into or extract injured persons from a remote accident site where safe helicopter landings are not possible, involves the use of a rescue rope attached to a helicopter's center of gravity. It allows rescuers to expeditiously remove a seriously injured person from an inaccessible location.