A man who slipped on snow and fell more than 400 vertical feet Friday near Surprise Lake needed to be rescued, a mission that proved complicated because the members of his hiking party didn’t know where they were.
At about 5:15 p.m. Friday, members of Alex Curry’s group called 911, saying they were near Amphitheater Lake.
In reality, the party was off route, according to a release from Grand Teton National Park, and was hiking the ridgeline north of Surprise Lake when Curry slipped and fell into Glacier Gulch. The 20-year-old from Scottsdale, Arizona, came to rest near the shore of Delta Lake, suffering “significant injuries” in his tumble, the release said.
Teton County Search and Rescue launched its helicopter and flew to Lupine Meadows to meet rangers and coordinate a rescue at Amphitheater Lake — about one mile and nearly 700 vertical feet away from where Curry was.
The team corrected, however, and dispatched to Delta Lake, at 9,016 feet.
“With no landing zones in the area, a decision was made to short-haul the injured hiker,” the release said. “A park ranger and a county search and rescue member were inserted to the location and provided medical assistance to Curry. He was then short-hauled to Lupine Meadows and transported by a park ambulance to St. John’s Health.”
A park ranger led the remaining members of the group out to the Lupine Meadows trailhead by 9 p.m.
Park officials stress that navigational skills are important when recreating in the Tetons. Hikers are encouraged to obtain a map and know how to use it.
Snow persists in many areas of Grand Teton. Anyone traveling at higher elevations should carry an ice ax and crampons and know how to use them, or adjust their route.
Overnight camping in the park is available now only at the Gros Ventre Campground near Kelly. The remainder of the park is accessible for day use only.
Teton County Search and Rescue is wrapping up a fundraising campaign to help the nonprofit keep its helicopter available year-round.