Rangers in Grand Teton National Park have conducted their first short-haul helicopter rescue of the season.
A Las Vegas woman was injured after slipping on snow while climbing Albright Peak. The woman was wearing sneakers, and was unable to use her ice axe to stop herself from sliding. Rescuers were able to reach her about an hour after she called.
Park spokesperson Jackie Skaggs says the rangers conduct about 65 rescues per year, about 30 of them being major rescues like this one. But Skaggs stresses that the park cannot guarantee sending out rescue teams for every call.
“We try our best to get to someone if they’re injured or in time of need. But, if it’s dark, we can’t fly a helicopter, we may not be able to reach you. We may not be able to find you if we don’t have good visual reference, or being able to talk on a cell phone.”
Skaggs says the best way park visitors can avoid needing a rescue is to know their travel routes and carry the proper equipment.
“Be prepared. Always know your physical condition, your abilities. Plan ahead... Don’t take on something more than you’re prepared or trained or have the skills to do.”
Skaggs says last summer’s record snow pack coincided with a record number of rescue efforts.
The largest search and rescue operation lasted six days and cost taxpayers $115,00.