Grand Teton National Park Rangers responded to the first major search and rescue incident of the season on Thursday, June 30th. Two hikers, Michael Kramer, 27, of Miami, Florida and Tiffany Morhaim, 26, of North Miami Beach, Florida, were on a day hike of Cascade Canyon and Paintbrush Canyon. They ventured off trail and found themselves lost in Leigh Canyon. They activated a satellite personal locator device when they realized they were lost and not prepared to spend a night in the backcountry.
Jenny Lake Rangers were joined by the Teton Interagency Contract Helicopter early Friday morning to begin a reconnaissance flight. After the first flight failed to find the lost hikers, rangers received an updated satellite location further down Leigh Canyon. A second flight found the two hikers who were waving for a rescue. The helicopter was able to land nearby and rangers contacted the hikers and assessed the situation. The exhausted hikers were flown out of the backcountry at 10:00 a.m.
Backcountry travelers are reminded that hikes in high elevation areas of the Teton Mountain Range at this time of year require knowledge and experience crossing snow, an ice axe, and mountain route-finding skills. Those traveling deep into the backcountry should be prepared to spend the night even if they do not plan to, and carry extra food, a flashlight or headlamp, and a map. Helicopter-based rescues are not always possible given time of day, weather, and availability of rescue resources.