Rescuers in Grand Teton National Park had to attend to two separate incidents this Monday afternoon just gone.
Park rangers worked in tandem with Teton County Search and Rescue volunteers to conduct a helicopter-based rescue of an injured skier who was caught in an avalanche in Death Canyon on Monday afternoon. Then later the same afternoon, rangers completed a ground-based rescue of a snowshoer who became injured while jumping off boulders near Taggart Lake.
The first search and rescue effort began just before 1:00 pm when Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a report that a skier was caught in an avalanche in an area known as “Son of Apocalypse Couloir” on the south side of Death Canyon.
Two separate parties of two individuals were skiing the couloir at the same time when a natural avalanche of fresh snow began above them. The sliding snow swept past one skier before gaining momentum, picking up snow, and hitting the remaining three. The first two were able to stop themselves, but the last skier, Yuki Tsuji, 37, of Louisville, Colorado, was knocked down and tumbled a few hundred feet down the lower portion of the couloir and onto the apron of snow at its base.
The three uninjured individuals, which included two emergency medical providers, skied down to Tsuji’s location and discovered she had suffered a leg injury and was unable to ski out. Tsuji’s partner carried a satellite communicator device and was able to send a text message for help.
The second search and rescue effort of the day involved a party of two individuals who snowshoed around Taggart Lake before heading a few hundred feet above the lake. Cody Dumont, 24, of Lexington, Kentucky, suffered leg injuries after jumping off a 10-foot boulder around 3:30 pm. Cody’s partner sent a text message for help to a friend at the Taggart Lake Trailhead, who in turn contacted the Teton Interagency Dispatch Center.
Rangers skied into the area with a toboggan and medical gear and then skied with Dumont in the sled back to Taggart Lake Trailhead, where Dumont and his partner chose to drive themselves to the hospital.