Texas man injured in fall on Middle Teton
By Angus M. Thuermer Jr., Jackson Hole, Wyoming
July 30, 2011
A 20-year-old man from Texas fell 1,200 feet down the Ellingwood Couloir of Middle Teton on Friday morning, suffering critical injuries before being rescued.
Ryan Haymaker was descending the snow-filled gully on the 12,804-foot peak when the accident happened, Grand Teton National Park spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles said. A resident of Houston, he was in the valley working for the summer, she said.
Haymaker, who had “very limited” climbing experience, was with one companion at the time of the fall, she said. He was a third of the way down the couloir when he fell and had an ice ax and crampons but no helmet.
Haymaker was glissading, or sliding down the snow slope, when he got going too fast, Anzelmo-Sarles said. He hit a rock, flipped over and accelerated head first down the slope, she said. He was in his crampons at the time.
Rangers got an emergency message via the Rexburg, Idaho, Sheriff’s Department at 10:43 a.m. from a bystander who reached Haymaker while the partner was still descending. Based on the report, rangers immediately summoned a life-flight helicopter from Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho, while the park got its own airship and rescue crew together.
A pilot flew four Jenny Lake climbing rangers to the base of the couloir in two flights and was able to land close to Haymaker, Anzelmo-Sarles said. Rescuers loaded Haymaker into the airship and flew him down to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache at the base of the range at 1:15 p.m.
Dr. Will Smith, the park’s emergency doctor, stabilized Haymaker in a makeshift trauma center at the rescue cache. Rescuers then loaded him into the hospital helicopter for the flight to Idaho Falls, Anzelmo-Sarles said.
The fall is the second in the couloir in a season during which heavy snows have lingered.
Ryan Redmond, 33, of Delafield, Wis., fell 800 feet down the slope July 2 while attempting a ski descent. He was in Jackson as an AmeriCorps volunteer with Teton Science Schools.
Redmond was in critical condition at the Idaho hospital after being rescued. He was moved from the intensive care unit recently when his condition was upgraded to serious.