Grand Teton rescue


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Mountain climber
Jackson Hole Wyo.
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 21, 2010 - 07:37pm PT
NEWS ALERT: Rescue launched on Grand Teton
Grand Teton National Park climbing rangers scrambled Wednesday afternoon [07/22/10] to respond to emergency calls from three climbing parties on the 13,770-foot high Grand Teton, including one that reported a member missing, following a violent thunderstorm.

Social climber
Jul 21, 2010 - 07:53pm PT
Wednesday’s rescue efforts were prompted when a storm rolled over the mountains starting in the morning. It reached a crescendo between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., lashing the valley with rain and shaking buildings with numerous thunderclaps and lightning bolts.

Three different parties reported injuries, Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said. One was a group of seven and the other two were parties of three, she said.

Yikes! Best wishes to all involved.


Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 21, 2010 - 08:07pm PT
Someone posted pics of that storm brewing;


Social climber
Jul 21, 2010 - 08:09pm PT
Credit: Gene

This is the picture Bluey references.

A helicopter was on site at the park’s Lupine Meadows rescue cache as of 2 p.m. Wednesday and a rescue squad was plotting its moves as afternoon clouds began to clear, she said.

Note that the picture was taken at 3:45pm, after the storm began to clear.

O/T EDIT: The author of the news article is Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,
the guy (or son of guy) who put up Wet Denim Daydream.

Jul 21, 2010 - 08:13pm PT
Bah!! Didn't they read our TPOD thread???

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Jul 21, 2010 - 08:19pm PT
In my reckless youth I was trapped in a lightning storm near the summit of the Grand. Hair standing up, crackling air, burning ozone, the whole nine yards. Freaking terrifying.

Good luck to all involved.

Social climber
Jul 22, 2010 - 02:45am PT
hey there say, Anquish.... just a small bump, if anyone needs to see this...

hope all is well... not sure if prayers are still needed or not...
best hopes and wishes, along with that, too... it's always sad to hear this kind of stuff...

good though, that someone is aware of them to rescue them, as that would be much worse, if not... :(

god bless to all these folks involved...

Trad climber
Boulder Creek CA
Jul 22, 2010 - 03:21am PT
Associated Press 47 mins ago:

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. – Rescue teams used helicopters to remove 16 injured climbers from an exposed mountain in Grand Teton National Park on Wednesday after a thunderstorm and severe lightning struck the area, a park spokeswoman said. The search for another climber was suspended because of darkness.

Three separate climbing parties reported injuries after the storm hit around midday. The groups were all above 13,000 feet on the 13,770-foot Grand Teton mountain, said spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs.

Suspended from helicopters by rope, rangers plucked the climbers from the mountain and carried them to aid stations at lower elevations. Wednesday night, the climbers notified emergency officials of a 17th climber who had not been accounted for, she said.

"He did go over a cliff. His climbing party lost sight of him, which sounds quite serious. But his condition is unknown at this point," Skaggs said late Wednesday evening.

The climber disappeared off the west face of the mountain, she said.

"It's vertical terrain. It's possible that he fell some distance," Skaggs told The Associated Press.

Three rangers spent the night in a hut at the 11,600-foot level and were to begin searching that area first thing Thursday. A helicopter was also to go up at first light and look for any signs of the missing climber, she said.

During Wednesday's rescue, helicopters took the 16 other climbers first to a temporary shelter on a mountain saddle at 11,600 feet and then down to an operations base on the valley floor and waiting ambulances, Skaggs said.

The climbers' identities and hometowns weren't available, Skaggs said. Their injuries were the result of being struck by lightning — either directly or indirectly — and included burns and neurological effects such as numbness.

Nine climbers were taken to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, said hospital spokeswoman Karen Connelly.

The hospital discharged three of the patients and transported a fourth to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for treatment of potentially serious injuries. The five others were being evaluated Wednesday night, Connelly said.

"All of the patients that we saw were evaluated and treated for injuries related to lightning strike, and those injuries included minor trauma and burns," Connelly said. "Most of the patients are in fair to good condition."

Connelly said some of the rescued climbers had declined to go to the hospital.

Skaggs said one of the groups was only 100 feet below the summit of Grand Teton mountain when the storm struck. Another was 400 feet down and the third about 570 feet down, she said.

In 2003, a climber died from a lightning strike on the Grand Teton.

TomC EDIT: In the late 60s we made multiple failed attempts to get a helicopter to the summit of the Grand for filming the summit shot for 'Solo'. (short version of long story). Eventually we went to Mt Temple in the Wind Rivers instead. I am very impressed that they were able to get up there with a helicopter for this rescue!

In the 1980s my brother and I were at the Upper Saddle in an incredible lightning storm. I sure wouldn't have wanted to be higher on the peak at the time!

Trad climber
Hollywood, CA
Jul 22, 2010 - 05:07am PT
Posted this in the other thread.....

9:10 p.m. update.

A Grand Teton National Park rescue helicopter is circling the highest peak in the range looking for a climber who went missing from the Owen-Spalding route during a thunderstorm that hit 17 mountaineers around noon Wednesday.

The missing climber was with a party in the area of the Belly Roll, a place where climbers must pass an exposed bulge and then a shelf above the precipitous West Face of the 13,770-foot-high Grand Teton, park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said.

A group of eight climbers was at the Belly Roll when the storm hit, Skaggs said. The feature got its name because climbers must drag their stomachs across the bulging rock as they cling to hand holds and move across the traverse.

Another group of five climbers was above the Belly Roll in the Owen Chimney and a third group was nearby on the V pitch of the Exum Ridge when lightning struck. Skaggs said a lightning map showed at least six or seven strikes.

Rangers dangling from ropes beneath the Grand Teton rescue helicopter were dropped onto the peak’s summit pyramid to aid the injured, Skaggs said. At least nine of the climbers who were at that elevation were rescued from the peak using the same method — suspended from the airship by a line.

Employing that “short-haul” method, rangers moved the climbers from the summit pyramid to the 11,650-foot-high Lower Saddle, Skaggs said. There, rangers loaded them into a different helicopter that flew from nearby Yellowstone National Park to help.

That larger airship could carry three or four victims at a time to the rangers’ Lupine Meadows rescue cache at about 6,700 feet.

Skaggs said some of the climbers were from the Teton area and others were from out of town.


Trad climber
Hollywood, CA
Jul 22, 2010 - 05:24am PT
Fyi...Belly Roll:

Pic found online of the "Belly Roll" on Grand Teton.
Pic found online of the "Belly Roll" on Grand Teton.
Credit: Fluoride


Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
Jul 22, 2010 - 07:39am PT
These short videos give additional views of the terrain for those who haven’t been on this ledge system on the Owen Spalding route. Class 3 and 4 climbing but great exposure down the west face of the Grand.
homemade salsa

Trad climber
west tetons
Jul 22, 2010 - 08:20am PT
Thanks Anguish for the excellent ongoing coverage. Appreciate you guys sending someone out to the rescue cache and updating the web site.

It was pretty dramatic at Hidden Falls- pretty remarkable that they were able to fly the heli so much.


Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Jul 22, 2010 - 11:50am PT
Quite a reminder that even an easy route can become epic. My name is not on the summit register of the Grand as we were racing to get off before lightening hit. Prayers for the recovery of the folks, and applause for the rescue effort.

Social climber
Jul 22, 2010 - 03:45pm PT
One didn't survive. RIP.


Trad climber
Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
Jul 22, 2010 - 04:19pm PT
What a shame to die so young and in such a terrifying way.

Ice climber
Jul 22, 2010 - 04:36pm PT
Almost the the same thing happened in 2003. Made huge news and front page press every where. National Geographic too.

Sad that history has to repeat itself.

Social climber
Jul 22, 2010 - 04:39pm PT
Latest fron JH News:


Trad climber
fresno, ca
Jul 22, 2010 - 04:40pm PT
Spppoky. We're heading out to climb the Owen Spalding in August. A tad sobering. Condolences and sadness for friends and family of the young man who perished.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 22, 2010 - 04:54pm PT
Be sure to start early micronut, the vast percentage of Thunder Storms in the Tetons occur in the afternoon- this one was an exception.

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jul 22, 2010 - 05:01pm PT
I think early afternoon is rather common.
I got hammered about 2 PM. Fortunately down below the caves.

There's NO place to hide anywhere near the top of the Grand. Unlike many Sierra Peaks.
The Owen Spaulding is really no place to be in a storm. Don't let the easy rating lull you into a sense of security.

My thoughts go out the the young man's family and friends. And to all those caught up there. Must've been scary as Hell.
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