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First Air Rescue Of The Season In GTNP

Albright SAR

A 21-year-old woman is recovering from injuries she sustained in a tumbling fall while hiking in the vicinity of Albright Peak Wednesday afternoon.  According to Park Spokesperson Jenny Anzelmo, Danielle Mendicino of Las Vegas, Nevada was attempting to summit the peak with a climbing partner when she slipped on snow and fell approximately 50 feet, coming to rest in a rocky talus field.  Having just completed a day of short-haul training, two rangers reboarded the Teton Interagency contract helicopter and headed to the site of the accident.  Anzelmo says they got the call about 5:00 pm as they were getting ready to wrap-up the training.  Two rangers jumped on the helicopter and did a reconnaissance flight of Albright Peak and the Death Canyon area, located the injured climber and determined they could actually land the helicopter on top of Albright Peak (which to their knowledge had never been done before.) Anzelmo says one ranger descended to Mendicino, gave her initial treatment and then transported her by short-haul method beneath the helicopter to White Grass Ranch where she was met by the park ambulance and taken to St. John’s Medical Center.  She says the rescue took about two hours using the helicopter, while using more traditional methods, rangers estimate that it would have likely taken 12 rangers approximately four hours to perform a ground evacuation over rough, steep, and difficult terrain, exposing many more rangers to the hazardous terrain.  Anzelmo says Mendicino was wearing tennis shoes and attempting to cross a snowfield.  She says while Mendicino was carrying an ice axe, she was unable to use it to arrest her fall.

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