During National Search and Rescue month, Grand Teton National Park rangers ask visitors to prepare before venturing into the backcountry. As most of the snow has melted on the higher altitude trails and climbing routes of the Tetons, they urge hikers and mountaineers to take their personal safety seriously.
Already in August, park rangers have conducted 12 SAR missions. Rescue missions inside the boundaries of Grand Teton National Park total 50 in the park this year.
Rangers advise that everyone venturing into the park faces hazards and must take responsibility for their own safety and that of their group.
Just because someone requests a rescue doesn’t guarantee a response from rangers. Search and rescue missions put park personnel at risk. Rangers use helicopters only when the risks to the rescue team are acceptable. Even if they determine a helicopter is necessary, weather, time of day, or mechanical issues might prevent it from flying.
Above all, officials advise you to prepare to take care of yourself in case of an emergency.
Be Prepared When Heading Into the Backcountry
- Set reasonable objectives based on your group’s experience level.
- Research your intended route by consulting topographic maps, guidebooks, and park rangers.
- Look at the weather forecast and be prepared for rain, snow, ice, and cold. Conditions can change quickly.
- Tell someone your route, and when you plan on returning.
- Bring food and water and a filter, as well as a headlamp,
- Pack a first aid kit, bear spray, and sun protection,
- Have a map and a GPS device and bring your phone.
- Be prepared for bad weather by having warm layers in your pack.
- If conditions change, or someone in your party is unable to keep going, turn around.
- Watch your footing and keep an eye out for slippery surfaces or loose rocks.
Learn more at the park website www.nps.gov/grandteton before heading out into the backcountry or stop by a park visitor center to check current park conditions.
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