Missing climber found dead in Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Rangers recovered the body Friday of a climber in Grand Teton National Park who had gone missing Thursday. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate file photo)

From Staff Reports

The body of a climber in Grand Teton National Park who had apparently fallen to his death Thursday was found on Friday by park rangers after a daylong ground and air search of the central Teton peaks.

Eric Tietze, 31, of Salt Lake City, and three climbing partners were attempting to complete a climb of the Cathedral Traverse Thursday when he separated from his group and moved ahead of them on the route, according to information released by the Grand Teton public affairs office.

Tietze apparently fell about 500-600 feet to his death shortly after leaving his friends. A long-time Bridger-Teton National Forest employee, Tietze has worked for 10 seasons on a trail crew in the forest.

Tietze separated from his partners as they were completing the final descent by rope from a a shoulder peak west of Teewinot Mountain. The last time Tietze’s party saw him was about 10:30 a.m. Thursday. The group continued the climb and summited Mount Owen where they waited for Tietze. After he failed to meet his group on the summit, the three partners backtracked and attempted a search for Tietze until 7:30 p.m.

Tietze’s party notified the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center of their missing friend at 10 p.m. after they hiked out to the Lupine Meadows trailhead. The Grand Teton search and rescue coordinator began organizing an operation to begin at first light Friday morning, and two rangers on a routine backcountry patrol on the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton were contacted.

Early Friday morning, the two rangers climbed from the Lower Saddle to the second ledges on the North Face of the Grand Teton and began searching with binoculars for Tietze. A Teton Interagency contract helicopter responded to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache at 7:30 a.m. Friday to conduct an aerial search as well. A second Teton Interagency contract helicopter responded to Lupine Meadows just before 11 a.m.

Rangers located Tietze’s body at about 3:30 p.m. Friday on the East Prong feature between Teewinot and Mount Owen, about 500 feet below an area that requires a notably challenging climbing move. One ranger was inserted via a short-haul rope suspended below the helicopter to the location, and prepared Tietze’s body for a short-haul extraction. His body was flown from the mountain to Lupine Meadows where it was turned over to the Teton County coroner’s office at 8:50 p.m.

Contact Yellowstone Gate at 307-213-9818 or [email protected]

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