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Backcountry Skier Survives Tumbling 2,000-Foot Fall At Grand Teton National Park


A Jackson, Wyoming, man who was injured in a tumbling 2,000-foot fall in Grand Teton National Park was lowered to the valley floor by short-haul -- a technique in which the injured are carried below a helicopter. NPS photo.

A Jackson, Wyoming, man managed to survive a tumbling 2,000-foot fall in Grand Teton National Park, where he and two partners planned to summit Teewinot Mountain and then ski down its east face.

Park officials say Jesse Stover, 39, and his friends set out about 4 a.m. Saturday for the summit. About four-and-a-half hours later, and just about 500 feet from the summit, however, he slipped and fell about 2,000 feet, they said.

Mr.  Stover and his friends were well-equipped with helmets, ice axes, and crampons, according to park officials, and were wearing avalanche beacons at the time of the accident.

Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a 911 call at 8:32 a.m. Saturday morning from a skier who witnessed Mr.  Stover’s fall. The witness, who is a wilderness emergency medical technician, skied down to where Mr. Stover came to rest and provided him with emergency medical care until help arrived, a park press release said. Two park rangers hiked up to the injured man, reaching the scene at 11:20 a.m.  Rangers then prepared a site for Teton County Search and Rescue to insert one of their members, Dr. A.J. Wheeler, to the patient's location on the mountain.

TCSAR’s  rescue team reached Mr. Stover at 11:36 a.m. and prepared him for a short-haul evacuation to the valley floor at Lupine Meadows, where a park ambulance then transported the injured man to

St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson for further treatment, the park statement said. Park officials did not describe the man's injuries.

While attending to Mr. Stover on Teewinot, TCSAR members and Grand Teton rangers avoided a small wet avalanche that came down the gully where the man was located.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest avalanche report rated the avalanche danger on Saturday as “moderate” to “considerable” as warmer afternoon temperatures create unstable snowpack.

Backcountry users are advised to stop in or call a visitor center or ranger station the day of travel to obtain the most current trail, route, and snow conditions. Hikers should also note that many injuries are a result of a slip on snow or ice and often occur on the descent.

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