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Climbing Victim Identified

fatal fall

Grand Teton National Park has identified the climber who fell to his death Sunday while climbing the Middle Teton with two companions.  27-year-old Justin Beldin of Benicia, California plummeted approximately 1000 feet down the Northwest Couloir while the three were descending the peak.  According to a news release, his companions had already begun down the opposite side of the ridge toward the Southwest Couloir and failed to witness Beldin’s fall. However, other climbers on the peak saw him fall and called the rescue team by cell phone.  Challenged by unstable weather Sunday afternoon, rescuers were able to conduct surveillance from a helicopter between storm cells, and spotted Beldin’s body near the bottom of the couloir.  Rescuers said at that point they were uncertain whether or not he had survived the fall, but stormy weather prevented them from reaching his body until Monday morning.  Four rangers were inserted by helicopter to the landing zone at the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton about 10:30 am and climbed to where Beldin had come to rest. His body was flown out and turned over to the Teton County coroner at 2:00 pm Monday.  While there is no indication what caused Beldin to fall, rangers say he was not wearing a helmet. Rangers ascertained the California man had been living in Victor, Idaho since April and working in Jackson.  This marks the fourth fatality in the Teton Range this year.

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