Teton County Searchers busy as January ends

TCSAR Search

Taylor Mountain slides

Teton County Search and Rescue used their helicopter to investigate a large avalanche on Taylor Mountain yesterday.

At about 1:45 p.m, someone reported the avalanche they saw from the Coal Creek parking lot.  A Search and Rescue team flew over the avalanche path to ensure that no one had been caught in the slide. The helicopter made numerous passes over the area and used the RECCO SAR Helicopter Detector, which picks up transponders, as well as the Heli Beacon, which detects frequencies from avalanche transceivers. No signals were detected.


Also, a volunteer on the ground at Coal Creek interviewed witnesses and spoke to the person who had accidentally triggered the slide. The person was confident that no one had been caught.

Out of bound skiers lost in backcountry

On Saturday night, Search & Rescue volunteers were called to respond to help two skiers who got lost in the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort backcountry.

At 3 p.m. on Saturday, two skiers from Utah rode the aerial tram to the summit with a plan to exit into the backcountry and ski Rock Springs. Instead, they mistakenly dropped into the top of Granite Canyon. When the pair failed to meet their friends after the lifts closed, a call was made to Jackson dispatch.

A unified command was set up with TCSAR, Grand Teton National Park, and JHMR ski patrol to make a search plan.

Deep snow and bad avalanche conditions made rescuers determine that it was too risky to send teams out to search blindly.

But at 8:10 p.m., a friend of the skiers got a call from them, but the call quickly dropped.

Searchers used pinged coordinates from the cellphone call, putting their location in the area known as the Jersey Shore, a dangerous cliff band at the top of Rock Springs that has been the location of many previous accidents.

Volunteers contacted the two men at about 1100 pm.

Using snowshoes, the men were led to the top tram station at 12:50 a.m.

The tram took everyone down the mountain, where friends met the men and drove them to St. John’s Health for further care.