Rangers in Grand Teton National Park performed an overnight rescue on Friday and Saturday after local writer and photographer Mark Wilcox lost control during a glissading descent along the Open Canyon Trail. After sliding about 75 feet into the head of Open Canyon, 30-year-old Wilcox sustained injuries that prevented him from exiting the backcountry on his own, according to park officials.
After receiving an emergency phone call from one of Wilcox’s family members around 6 p.m. Friday, Rangers began a rescue operation with a Teton Interagency helicopter. When rangers arrived to Wilcox’s location around 7:10 p.m. Friday, they administered emergency medical care but soon realized they wouldn’t have enough time to perform a short haul helicopter evacuation because of impending darkness. The rangers remained with Wilcox overnight until they were able to fly Wilcox from the canyon Saturday morning. Wilcox was then transported by ambulance to St. John’s Medical Center where he was treated for injuries and released Sunday, according to hospital officials.
National Park Service officials say that although day hikers may not think to carry equipment for icy conditions–such as an ice axe or helmet–during this time of year, it’s still important to consider your routing and be prepared for varying conditions. Wilcox was unsuccessful using a rock to self-arrest on the icy snow field, according to GTNP spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles.
This is the fourth rescue in 2011 involving someone who had glissaded down a snowfield.