A Wyoming man was killed in an avalanche Sunday while climbing in Grand Teton National Park. Three other climbers were rescued by helicopter, including one who sustained life-threatening injuries.
Luke Lynch, 38, of Jackson, Wyo. died when he was struck by an avalanche in the steep Sickle Couloir on the northeast face of Mount Moran. The snowslide swept Lynch and two others downslope for approximately 500 feet over rock and ice covered terrain.
Also injured was Stephen P. Adamson, Jr., 42, and Brook Yeomans, 37. A fourth climber, Zahan Billimoria, 37, escaped injury. All of the climbers are from Jackson.
Continuing snow throughout the morning prompted additional avalanches that threatened the climbers, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office.
Billimoria was able to move out of the heavier portion of the debris flow and was not caught in the slide. He descended to his teammates, called 911, and aided his three companions.
A team of Grand Teton National Park rangers, emergency medical personnel, Teton County Search and Rescue team members and a contract helicopter were dispatched to rescue the climbers.
Adamson, whose injuries were life-threatening, was flown by helicopter to a staging area and driven to to the Jackson Hole Airport, where he was transferred to a fixed wing air ambulance that flew him to the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Helicopter rescue crews made additional flights to pick up the two other avalanche survivors and transport them out of the backcountry, and to bring out Lynch’s body, as well as the remaining park rangers and their rescue gear. All rescue personnel were safely out of the mountains by 3 p.m.
Park officials remind skiers and climbers to be alert during this time of year for the possibility of wet avalanches. Slides can be shallow, and seemingly benign. However, they have the potential to sweep people off their feet into hazardous terrain below.
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