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Clear Weather Saturday Improves Search Conditions For Missing Backcountry Skiers in Grand Teton National Park


Clear skies greeted searchers Saturday as they headed into the Tetons to resume the search for two missing backcountry skiers. Top photo shows Garnet Canyon between Middle (left) and Grand Teton (right). NPS photos.

A search for two missing backcountry skiers at Grand Teton National Park entered its sixth day Saturday with clear skies and calm winds, but the task remained daunting in light of 3 feet of snow that had fallen in the past week.

Helicopters ferried more than 35 search-and-rescue personnel from the Teton Park Road nearly 3,000 feet higher in elevation to a helispot in Garnet Canyon near the base of Nez Perce Peak to resume the search that was suspended Friday due to poor weather conditions.

Walker Pannell Kuhl, 27, of Salt Lake City, and Gregory Seftick, 31, of Columbia Falls, Montana, have been missing since last weekend, when they headed into the Tetons for an overnight trek.

Saturday's search was focused on a broad snowfield on the north face of Nez Perce Peak that gave way sometime after Friday, April 15. The resulting avalanche path covers Garnet Canyon Meadows where it is presumed that the two men might be found, park officials said.

The avalanche debris field is approximately 200 feet wide, 200-300 yards long and 15 feet
deep, officials said.

Grand Teton National Park rangers again enlisted the assistance of trained rescue personnel and support staff from Teton County Search and Rescue, Teton Interagency Fire, Bridger-Teton National Forest, Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrol, Wyoming K9 Search and Rescue, and Grand Targhee Resort ski patrol and K9 teams, as well as experienced professional mountaineers from Jackson Hole Mountain Guides and Exum Mountain Guides (two park concession companies) to provide the best possible and most complete exploration of snow-covered area where Mr. Kuhl and Mr. Seftick may be located.

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