Grand Teton National Park rangers rescued a hiker with serious injuries yesterday. At approximately 1:30 p.m. on Monday, July 8, Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a call informing them of an injured hiker that fell near Paintbrush Divide.
Two individuals were day hiking in Paintbrush Canyon when one of the hikers, 35-year old Jarek Strzalkowski of Poland, residing in Minneapolis, Minnesota, fell. Strzalkowski was hiking in snow and rock when he lost his footing and fell on the east side of Paintbrush Divide. He fell approximately 1,200 feet over snow fields and rock outcroppings toward Grizzly Bear Lake.
Strzalkowski’s hiking partner ascended the trail and was able to make an emergency 911 call and was connected to Teton Interagency Dispatch. Three park rangers were transported via Teton Interagency helicopter to close proximity and hiked to the injured hiker. Rangers accessed Strzalkowski’s injuries and stabilized him, and determined a short-haul extraction was needed. The injured hiker was flown to Lupine Meadows and transferred by air medical transport to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
While spring temperatures have melted out many of the trails at lower elevations in Grand Teton National Park, elevations above 9,000 feet in the Teton Range are still snow-covered. Hikers and climbers in these areas should carry both an ice axe and crampons and know how to use them or adjust your route. Please visit the Jenny Lake Ranger Station before backcountry trips for the most current route conditions.
Short-haul is a rescue technique where an individual or gear is suspended below the helicopter on a 150 to 250 foot rope. This method allows a rescuer more direct access to an injured party, and it is often used in the Teton Range where conditions make it difficult to land a helicopter in the steep and rocky terrain.