Grand Teton rangers use helicopter to rescue injured hiker from Waterfalls Canyon

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park rangers used a helicopter Saturday to rescue an injured hiker. (Ruffin Prevost/Yellowstone Gate file photo)

From Staff Reports

Grand Teton National Park rangers used a helicopter to rescue a woman Saturday from Waterfalls Canyon after she fell approximately 20 feet while ascending the canyon just above Columbine Cascades.

Jessica Haines, 21, of Laguna Beach, Calif., was hiking with two companions when they decided to separate, according to information released by the Grand Teton public affairs office. Haines is working in the local area for the summer, park officials said.

Haines hiked high off to the north side of the canyon to view geologic features before a planned reconnection with her group at Wilderness Falls. She fell in a rocky area and came to rest on a ledge. While Haines was not critically injured, she was hurt badly enough that she could not continue down the canyon from where she landed after the fall, park officials said.

Haines radioed for help around 3:15 p.m. and rangers in the north district of Grand Teton National Park initiated a rescue response. Due to the technical nature of the terrain, they requested additional rangers and a Teton Interagency contract helicopter to perform a short-haul extraction of Haines. The short-haul technique involves using a line suspended from the helicopter to haul the subject a short distance to a safe landing spot, forgoing an initial landing in rough terrain by the aircraft.

Rangers reached Haines at 6:30 p.m., provided emergency medical care, and prepared her for a short-haul flight attended by a park ranger suspended with her below the helicopter.

Haines was flown from the incident site to a landing zone on the west shore of Jackson Lake before being transported across the lake on a Grand Teton National Park patrol boat. She was met by a waiting park ambulance on the east shore and transported to St. John’s Medical Center in Jackson for further care.

Waterfalls Canyon sits between Ranger Peak to the north and Eagles Rest Peak to the south. It is at the north end of Grand Teton National Park and directly west of Colter Bay Village. The canyon is accessed from the west shore of Jackson lake, and does not have maintained trails.

Saturday’s rescue was the sixth major search and rescue operation in the mountains of Grand Teton National Park this summer.

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

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