NPS Digest is reporting that a 31-year-old backcountry skier was rescued from Granite Canyon in Grand Teton National Park in a multi-agency effort last Saturday. Josh Tatman of Jackson, Wyoming, sustained injuries after falling about 300 feet from the top of Endless Couloir just outside the boundary of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Tatman was skiing alone when he took what was described as a slow twisting fall. He called Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrol on his cell phone and reported that he was injured and needed help. Rangers were flown to a landing zone in Granite Canyon, where they waited for ski patrol members to lower Tatman to them. Tatman was initially lowered by patrollers skiing a rescue toboggan down, but due to snow conditions and the terrain had to set up a rope belay system and lowered him in six 300-foot segments into the canyon. He was then taken to St. John’s Medical Center for treatment.
Endless Couloir is on a north facing slope in Granite Canyon and runs almost 3,000 vertical feet on a roughly 40 degree slope. It is unusual for individuals to have cell phone service in that area of Granite Canyon. Tatman did have an avalanche beacon with him but it was in his backpack. Best practice is for individuals to wear avalanche beacons on their person in case they get caught in an avalanche when gear and outer layers of clothing can easily be torn off from the force of the avalanche.
The avalanche danger was listed as low below 9,000 feet and moderate for high elevations on Saturday by the Bridge-Teton Avalanche Center.
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