A Minnesota man vacationing in northwest Wyoming took a long and painful slide down from the Paintbrush Divide on Monday and had to be helicoptered out of the mountains.
Grand Teton National Park reported Tuesday that Jarek Strzalkowski, 35, fell approximately 1,200 feet over steep snow and rock outcroppings toward Grizzly Bear Lake. A native of Poland, Strzalkowski was hurt badly enough that he could not walk out on his own. His partner on the outing hiked up the trail to get cell service to call Teton Interagency Dispatch, which sent three Jenny Lake climbing rangers in a helicopter to attend to the injured man.
After rangers assessed his injuries and stabilized him, they decided he should be helicoptered out, park officials said in a statement. Strzalkowski was flown to Lupine Meadows and transferred by air medical transport to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.
Though many valley trails are open, elevations above 9,000 feet in the Teton Range are still snow-covered, the park’s statement said. Carrying an ice ax and crampons — and knowing how to use them — is strongly advised.
Rangers ask hikers to visit the Jenny Lake Ranger Station before backcountry trips for the most current route conditions.
Strzalkowski is a University of Minnesota student living in Minneapolis, according to his Facebook page.