Monday, June 24, 2013

Grand Teton Rangers Handle Two Rescues & EMS Response On Same Day

NPS Digest is reporting that Grand Teton rangers handled back-to-back rescue missions last Thursday, one of which involved a fatality. At the same time, other rangers dealt with a cardiac arrest in Buffalo Valley.

Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call for help from a location on Mount Owen (12,928 feet) just before 2:30 p.m. Jeff Judkins, 38, of Lander, Wyoming, and his climbing partner were on an ascent of the Crescent Arête (11,200 feet) when a door-sized rock broke free as Judkins was pushing himself onto it. Judkins fell about 15 feet before hitting a sloping ledge below, then another five feet before his climbing protection caught him. Luckily, neither of the climbers was hit by the rock.

Two rangers were inserted via short-haul to a nearby ledge just before 5 p.m., and they prepared the two climbers for short-haul extrication from the accident site to Lupine Meadows. This rescue was completed at 5:15 p.m. The Crescent Arête is adjacent to the Northeast Snowfields route on Mount Owen, and is an uncommon climb due to its technical nature. It is rated a 5.7 on the Yosemite Decimal System. Fred Beckey and Yvon Chouinard made the first ascent of this climb in September of 1959.

Moments after the first mountain rescue was completed, Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received another call for help after a climber fell into a moat in the North Fork of Garnet Canyon. Gary Miller, 55, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, was descending from the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton after a successful summit of the peak earlier in the day when he slipped on snow and slid into an icy water moat near a rock band. Miller was on a climb being guided by one of the park’s authorized concessioners. Climbing guides successfully extricated Miller from the moat before rangers arrived at the site.

Six rangers were flown to a temporary landing zone near the moat location in Garnet Canyon. Rescuers raised Miller to a site where he could be flown in a rescue litter via short-haul to Lupine Meadows by a Teton Interagency contract helicopter. A ranger attended Miller below the helicopter on the flight to the park’s rescue cache. Once at the rescue cache they were met by a team of park medical providers led by Dr. Will Smith of St. John’s Medical Center, and an Air Idaho Life Flight ship waiting to provide transport to critical care in Idaho Falls. Miller was pronounced dead at 8:35 p.m. at the rescue cache and his body turned over to the Teton Country coroner.

Earlier in the day, Teton County requested assistance from rangers for a cardiac arrest underway in Buffalo Valley. A park ambulance and six rangers responded jointly with Jackson Hole Fire/EMS personnel to the incident location. The 56-year-old man was pronounced dead after nearly an hour of resuscitation efforts.

Hiking Glacier National Park

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