From Staff Reports
CODY, Wyo. — Grand Teton National Park rangers worked with rescuers from other agencies Saturday to transport an injured backcountry skier to safety.
Josh Tatman, 31, of Jackson, Wyo. was skiing alone at about 1 p.m. near the top of Endless Couloir in Granite Canyon. Tatman was injured during a short fall, according to information released Sunday by the Grand Teton National Park public affairs office.
Tatman used his cell phone to contact the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrol and ask for help. Teton Interagency Dispatch Center in Grand Teton National Park was notified at 1:15 p.m. Grand Teton National Park rangers were flown in the Teton County Search and Rescue helicopter to a landing zone in Granite Canyon where they waited for ski patrol members to lower Tatman to them.
Ski patrol members from the resort rendered first aid and loaded Tatman into a rescue toboggan before lowering him to the waiting helicopter in Granite Canyon. Ski patrollers using the the toboggan encountered difficult snow conditions and terrain, so rescuers set up a rope belay system and lowered Tatman in six 300-foot segments into the canyon.
Rescuers loaded Tatman into the helicopter and flew him to a temporary landing zone at Teton Village where he was met by an ambulance from Jackson Hole Fire Department and transported to St. John’s Medical Center for treatment.
Endless Couloir is on a north-facing slope in Granite Canyon and runs almost 3,000 vertical feet on a roughly 40-degree slope. It is unusual for individuals to have cell phone service in that area of Granite Canyon. Tatman had an avalanche beacon with him, but it was in his backpack, according to Grand Teton officials.
Rescuers advise skiers to wear avalanche beacons on their person in case they get caught in an avalanche, when gear and outer layers of clothing can easily be torn off from the force of the avalanche.
The avalanche danger was listed as low below 9,000 feet and moderate for high elevations on Saturday by the Bridge-Teton Avalanche Center.