Hiker fell 400 feet at GTNP Friday, he lived, hospitalized

A climber injured in a fall Friday near Delta Lake in Grand Teton National Park was rescued and airlifted by Short Haul to meet a park ambulance. NPS Photo

MOOSE, WY-Grand Teton National Park and Teton County Search and Rescue coordinated a rescue of a 20-year old man from the backcountry of the park Friday evening.

At approximately 5:15 p.m. on Friday, May 29, Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received an emergency call reporting an injured hiker near Amphitheater Lake.

Four individuals were hiking to Amphitheater Lake when they got off route. As they traveled along the ridge line north of Surprise Lake, Alex Curry of Scottsdale, Arizona, slipped on snow and fell over 400 vertical feet. He fell into Glacier Gulch and landed near the shore of Delta Lake. He sustained significant injuries. The other three members of the hiking party down climbed to Curry and called 911 communicating their location as Amphitheater Lake.

The Teton County Search and Rescue helicopter and members flew to Lupine Meadows to meet park rangers and coordinate the rescue at Amphitheater Lake.   As rescuers flew the area, the hiking party was not located at Amphitheater Lake, but rather at Delta Lake. With no landing zones in the area, a decision was made to short-haul the injured hiker.   A park ranger and a county search and rescue member were inserted to the location and provided medical assistance to Curry. He was then short hauled to Lupine Meadows and transported by a park ambulance to St. John’s Health Center.

The park ranger guided the remaining members of the hiking party to Lupine Meadows, arriving safely at about 9 p.m. Friday night.

Navigational skills are beneficial when hiking in the Teton Range. All recreationalists are encouraged to obtain a map of the area they plan to visit, and have map reading skills.

Snow persists in many areas of Grand Teton National Park and hikers and climbers should be prepared for travel over snow. Anyone traveling in higher elevations should carry both an ice axe and crampons and know how to use them or adjust your route.

Currently, overnight camping in the park is only available at the Gros Ventre Campground. The remainder of the park, including the Teton Range, is only accessible to day use.

Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual or gear is 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.