The Teton Trip

On Friday at about 5 PM we were planning to leave for the Tetons and at about 6 PM MST (Mormon Standard Time) about 8 of us finally started driving to join the rest of the group at camp. The drive was somewhat long because we had to make several extra stops on our way to the mountains. We arrived at camp at midnight and we set up our gear and went to bed at 1 AM.

What seemed to be just a moment, 5 AM was there and we were getting ready to start our adventure. At 6 AM 17 of about 30 people started climbing the mountain. The hike was a brisk and I was a little mad because everyone was hiking real fast, spreading our group out all over the mountain. The hike was going to be a 16-mile hike with a 1.16-mile vertical gain achieving 12,804 feet or 2.4miles.

Of the 17 people hiking, 15 of us made it to the meadows, which was a big ice cap. And from there 11 of us continued up the mountain. I carried up the mountain extra food and water and went to stash some of this behind a rock. When I was done I was a little behind the group. I caught up with the last two individuals in the group and hiked with them. One of the individuals, Amelia, did not have crampons but was attempting to climb the mountain to the saddle. The other hiker, Adam, has a bad knee but was attempting to go to the very top. He needed someone to go with him and I thought he would be fun to hike with so I kept going with him. Adam and I were going a little slow because Amelia did not have an ice axe or crampons. The climb up to the saddle was steep, but it was not dangerous at all. Crampons were needed up to the saddle only to help with traction.

Before getting to the saddle, my roommate Jon and another person from my ward decided to go to the summit a different route. They had a two-way radio and my small group of 3 was communicating with them on their way up the mountain. When my group reached the saddle I talked with them and they said they were almost at the top. At the saddle we caught up with two people from our group and one of them was a little dehydrated. Adam and I gave Jen one of our bottles of water leaving Adam and I about one and a half bottles of water each for the rest of the climb up the mountain. We left the radio with the group that was just going to the saddle and Adam and I resumed our climb up the rest of the mountain. From the saddle Adam and I were told that we had 2 more hours of climbing.

The last portion of the hike was very hard. It was very steep and the air was thin. That climb would be extreamly difficult and dangerous without crampons and an ice axe. I would climb for a few minutes then rest for a few just to catch my breath. About 45 minutes from the top we passed 4 people from our group coming down. Unfortunately I asked the wrong person if they had extra water because one of the guys had 6 bottles of water on him when he was coming down from the top.

Adam was taking a lot of time and I wanted to get the beast of a climb over. I climbed to the top and took some pictures. After a while I realized that Adam was going to take a while, so I took off my shoes and first layer of socks to let things dry off a bit. My first layer of socks was black so putting those in the sun actually warmed me up a bit. I finally pulled my black hat over my head because the sun was scorching me and I rested for probably 45 minutes before Adam got to the top.

As soon as Adam got to the top he started down the mountain. He did not like being on the top because there was little space on top and thousand feet drops on each side. Adam started climbing down and I could tell he was exhausted. He was taking a lot of time and at one point, I found some rocks that felt warm and I lay there absorbing the heat and drying off a little bit. I am sure I was laying there for 15 minutes and when I looked to see what progress Adam had made, he had not moved. He was catching dripping water in a bottle because he was so thirsty. What took other climbers 20 minutes to go down, felt like over an hour of decending. I waited in my warm spot on the rocks for a while until he was out of site then I slid down the mountain and caught up to him. When I reached him, he was shivering.

Adam was worried about me because I was lying around and looked cold. I would have been fine if we would have been moving at a decent speed. I was worried about Adam because I did not think he was going to make it down. If he was shaking that bad at that point, I thought that he was going to be in worse shape soon because the sun was lowering in the sky. I told Adam that I was going to go get help. He told me to just get off the mountain and that he was going to be fine.

I started sliding down the mountain on my back and dug my crampons and ice axe into the snow to slow down when I was close to rocks. When the hill was not steep enough to slide I ran down the hill. At one point of running, my leg went down into a cavity in the snow and I thought that I might have broken my leg. The rocks warm up and melt the snow below the surface and while running my leg went down into one of these cavities and I hit my leg on the rock real hard.

After about 20 minutes of running and sliding, getting down what took us 4 hours to climb, I saw two people starting to climb the mountain where my other roommate and a friend had climbed earlier that day. I yelled help and ran towards them. I was so tired I fell down and had to catch my breath. The two people told me to get up and keep moving. I talked to these two people and they said that they were on their way up the mountain to rescue two people stuck on the mountainside. My other roommate and another guy that lives in my neighborhood were stuck on a ledge where they could neither climb up or down.


Stage 1 of Hypothermia

Early...core temperature 36 degrees Celsius.

+ Skin pale, numb and waxy + fatigue begins
+ Weakness + muscle tenseness. Shivering may begin
+ Judgment capability is still intact


+ Remove from the elements
+ Give hot drinks
+ Halt further heat loss with extra clothing


I told the rangers that Adam was going slowly and his whole body was shaking from being cold. I told them he was in the beginning stages of hypothermia, but he was still moving and he needed help. He was shivering and being at the top of a mountain, dehydrated, sun burnt, exhausted, wet, wearing shorts, and a few months ago he had knee surgery so he could not and was afraid to slide down the hill being afraid of catching his leg and ripping his knee apart again. I was really concerned for his health. I never said that he was stuck or that he was near death. He was moving but he was going so slow that I figured that he was going to get off the mountain on his own.

The rangers called for more help for Jon and Paul and then started up the hill for Adam. I continued my run down the hill because I was completely wet from running and sliding down the slushy snow and needed to get off the mountain. I had left all my extra dry gear at the saddle for Adam where the beginning of the last two hours of the climb started. The main concern at this point was that if I stopped I would get cold and freeze. Once getting help for Adam I started taking pictures again. I was having fun sliding down the mountain and I was trying to go fast to catch 2 people from my group that were 20 minutes ahead of me. I needed to go fast anyways just to keep warm.

An interesting point in this whole adventure was that the rangers were not prepared for what was going on. They needed food, lights, crampons, and borrowed other things from those of us on the hill. I came across several rangers asking if they could borrow things from us as they were climbing to help Jon and Paul.

On my way down all I could think about was being on flat ground and eating some food other than raisins and trail mix. I was so happy once I was on flat ground again. The problem was that when I was on flat ground I realized that I took the wrong trail. I ended up at a lake instead of a parking lot. I decided to continue walking around the lake to try and find some help. I was hoping that I would find someone and that they would drive me to the other parking lot. To my unfortunate luck nobody was anywhere around the lake.

At the lake I had 3 miles of hiking uphill to return to where I made a wrong turn. Once on the right trail I would have 2 more miles of hiking to the parking lot. I considered resting because I did not know if I had the energy to get back up the mountain, but I knew that I would freeze if I rested in my wet clothing. I quickly rejected resting because I still had a little daylight left, I did not want to be stuck in bear country, I was about out of water, and if I rested I would freeze if I rested in wet clothing and I did not want to strip down to nothing and try and fight the cold of the night.

I needed to get back up the mountain to the right trail so that someone could find me and so that the group would know where I was. I had got my fifth adrenelin rush and started a brisk walk/run back up the mountain. I made it up the mountain with good speed. Once I reached the trailhead and was going in the right direction, I soon heard my name. I fell down just because I knew that I could rest and someone would force me down from that point on the trail.

Based on the position I was at with the ranger that last saw me I should have been back to camp. The rangers were concerned for me but I was the lowest priority on the list of problems that night. They told my bishop that if they wanted to find me that he or someone else in our group would have to go looking for me. My bishop figured I was either on the trail out of energy or I had taken the wrong turn and headed to Taggart Lake. If I would have been 10 minutes later, my bishop would have missed me then climbed up the mountain then back down to Taggart Lake and he would have been looking for me for hours. Once I was found, my bishop stopped to make some phone calls to let people know that I was found. I continued walking because I did not want to stop and freeze because I was wet and out of energy. I was up on the mountain from 6 AM to 10:30 PM. Once we reached his car I changed my shirt and coat and got into the warm car. Even though I had some warm clothing, I started to get hypothermia. I started to freeze up. My hands were cold and I had my bishop turn up the heat full blast cooking him and his wife to death.

That night was horrible, I started off cold then woke up with a little heat stroke from the sunburns on my body. I feel bad for the two people in my tent because I was talking in my sleep, rolling around, and moaning all night long. My roommate said that at one point he woke up and I was in a fetal position at the end of the tent. When we woke up I looked like death.

In the morning we waited around for a while waiting for my roommates to get off the mountain. Adam slept on the mountain, and John and Paul climbed down the mountain all night long with the rangers. While waiting we had breakfast with some volunteer rangers. After eating we had a sacrament meeting with about 10 of us at camp because there was no way we were going to get back in time for church.

Below are some articles about this rescue:

Provo hikers rescued in Wyoming
Brigham Young University NewsNet
By Brian Morgan NewsNet Staff Writer - 10 Jun 2003

For the fourth time this year, rescuers saved the lives of stranded hikers in the Grand Teton National Park last weekend.

John Johnson, 28, from Orderville, Utah, and Paul Jordan, 28, from Auburn, Calif., were stranded Saturday, June 7, for nearly 21 hours at the top of a steep incline on the Middle Teton.

The two men are extreme hikers with over 10 years experience. They attribute their survival to being well prepared for the trip.

"We were prepared for everything but the unexpected conditions," Johnson said. "We thought we could make, but it was just too steep and too dangerous to attempt without more rope. Luckily, the rangers had what we didn't."

Johnson placed a call from a cellular phone to the 911 emergency dispatcher at about 3 p.m. Johnson described his location and the dispatcher routed his call to the nearest Teton Ranger station in Wyoming.

As the rangers reached the base of the mountain and began their assent to the stranded men, they received word from a descending hiker who informed them there was another hiker behind him who had signs of hypothermia.

The rangers stopped their assent to Johnson and Jordan so they could backtrack and find the other hiker. Two hours later, they came back down the mountain with Adam Dover, a Provo resident, who had become extremely fatigued and needed assistance to make the descent.

Dover was wrapped in blankets and cared for by the rangers before they continued back up the mountain.

The rangers arrived to where Johnson and Jordan were by 7:30 p.m. equipped with two lines of 200 feet of climbing rope.

The climb down took more than 11 hours, Jordan said. They arrived at the base of the mountain at 9 a.m.

"We tied the two ropes together to make a 400 foot line," Jordan said. "We had to stop about every 300 feet to set new anchor points. Six of us had to repel down so it took a long time to get to the bottom."

Throughout the course of the rescue effort, Johnson and Jordan provided enough food to sustain the rangers as well as themselves.

Though the rangers did not have all the proper equipment when they arrived, Jordan said they were jovial and happy to help out. He was grateful for their timeliness.

"It was our good fortune that there were other hikers at the bottom who had extra equipment for the rangers to use," Jordan said. "The rangers arrived to the base of the mountain on foot. They didn't have the cramp-on spikes or other ice-climbing equipment. We were really lucky."

Jordan and Johnson both called this mishap a learning experience. They said even the best hiker should always be prepared for the worst.

"Hikers should bring plenty of food and water, emergency blankets, and some sort of communication equipment," Jordan said. "Anyone planning a hike of any kind should always make sure someone knows what route they will take."



Rescue ends Teton race
Exaggerated report of "unresponsive" climber delays efforts of rangers.
Jackson Hole News & Guide

By Rebecca Huntington

Plummeting nighttime temperatures Saturday hardened an icy glaze on the Middle Teton as climbing rangers looked in vain for a safe way to reach two men stranded near the 12,804-foot summit.

After failing to find a "good route," climbing ranger Dave Bywater was forced into a icy chimney which he climbed in the dark to reach the precariously perched pair. That was only the start of the 12-hour, overnight rescue.

Once on the group's limited ledge, Bywater and three other Grand Teton National Park climbing rangers used ropes to lower the Utah men 250 feet into the Ellingwood Couloir. Snow in the gully had turned hard as cement.

"It was so frozen that they weren't able to get in their ice axes," said Brandon Torres, the climbing ranger who served as incident commander for the operation. Only rock anchors allowed rangers to lower the climbers 1,800 feet down the slopes.

The overnight rescue could have been avoided had the Utah climbers done their homework, Torres said Monday. The incident was complicated by exaggerated reports of another party member in trouble and earned the ill-prepared mountaineers official criticism for lack of planning, fitness and equipment.

Moreover, park officials said the rescued men were engaged in a race up the mountain, an act they called "totally inappropriate for the wildness of the Teton Range." But Torres credited the two in the Ellingwood for staying put when in trouble and knowing when to call for help.

The Utahans' escapade ended only after rangers lowered and escorted all three down the peak in two separate operations that began Saturday and stretched into Sunday afternoon. Eight rangers were deployed in the operation and no one was hurt.

Provo, Utah, residents Jonathan Johnson and Paul Jordan, both 28, began climbing the Middle Teton early Saturday with plans to summit via the popular Southwest Couloir, Torres said. The pair was part of a large group of friends camping in Grand Teton, he said. A second party Adam Dover, 27, and Steve Risenmay, 26 from the same group also struck out to climb the Middle Teton.

Johnson and Jordan told rangers they were trying to beat their friends to the summit. So instead of sticking to the original route, the duo saw the Ellingwood Couloir and decided to climb it instead. From the trailhead at Lupine Meadows, one reaches the Ellingwood, a more direct line to the summit, before encountering the Southwest Couloir. But it is significantly steeper than the more accessible Southwest Couloir and usually requires route-finding skills and technical gear to negotiate safely.

The pair had rented crampons and ice axes and had a 30-foot rope. But they had not studied the route and did not know how steep the couloir, which exceeds 50 degrees, is toward the top, Torres said. "Without having ever looked at a guide, they just went," he said.

"They would have never been there had they pre-planned at all," he said. "Even the pioneers of first ascents in the Tetons spent some time looking at things, exploring. To just go and look up and say, 'Let's go that way,' is pretty brazen."

As the couloir got steeper, the pair left the snow and climbed onto the Southeast Ridge, a rock-climbing route. They kept going "until they basically got themselves into a pickle," he said.

The one good decision the climbers made was recognizing they were in over their heads and calling at 2:51 p.m. on a cell phone for help, he said. "They were very honest in their call about exactly what they had done," he said.

But the climbers were not sure where they were. They told rangers they were 30 feet from the summit when they were about 800 feet from the top, Torres said.

While rangers were looking for the stranded climbers, the second party from Provo reached the summit of the Middle and began descending the Southwest Couloir. During that descent, Dover became exhausted and stopped. Risenmay went for help.

Just as climbing rangers were preparing to rescue the Ellingwood party, Risenmay came around a bend yelling for help, Torres said. He told rangers Dover was hypothermic and "unresponsive."

"Unresponsive means they're laying on the snow unconscious," a situation requiring immediate attention, Torres said. "You're going to throw everything at it."

So Torres diverted the three rangers from the Ellingwood to the Southwest Couloir, farther up the South Fork of Garnet Canyon. When they found Dover, he was neither unresponsive nor hypothermic.

Although Dover needed assistance down the gully because he was exhausted, his condition did not merit shifting rescue rangers from the Ellingwood, Torres said. The diversion caused the crew to lose daylight hours, forcing them to later climb a technical route in the dark on the Southeast Ridge, which became icier as temperatures dropped.

Climbing ranger Marty Vidak stayed with Dover and escorted him to the Platforms camp site where he provided Dover with a sleeping bag, shelter and fluids. Dover was dehydrated and vomiting, Torres said.

Meanwhile, the other two rangers returned to the Ellingwood where they met two more climbing rangers sent to help. The foursome Bywater, Darin Jernigan, Leo Larson and Jack McConnell then spent the next 12 hours, from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m., extricating the duo from the Ellingwood.

Torres dispatched three more rangers, bringing the total number of rescuers on the mountain to eight, to carry up overnight gear. However, the party never used the gear since the rescue took all night. The ordeal wrapped up about 1 p.m. on Sunday, when all reached the trailhead.

The rescue serves as a reminder to climbers to carefully plan a trip, study the route, anticipate bad weather and know when to call for help, Torres said.



Utahns Rescued in Tetons
Salt Lake Tribune
The Associated Press

MOOSE, Wyo. -- Three men from a Utah outdoor club were rescued from the Middle Teton in Grand Teton National Park.

Two parties from the group based in Provo apparently tried to beat each other to the summit Saturday when they got off route and became stranded on icy and precipitous cliffs, park spokeswoman Joan Anzelmo said Monday.

A highly technical rescue was initiated after rangers received a cell phone call from one of the parties that exaggerated their predicament and provided some erroneous information, she said.

The climbers' decision to race to the summit and their lack of planning, physical conditioning and equipment was totally inappropriate for the wilderness of the Teton Range. Rangers said they could have died.

The rescue, which began Saturday, lasted well into Sunday with rangers working through the night. Jonathan Johnson and Paul Jordan, both 29, ended up near the Ellingwood Couloir while Adam Dover, 28, became exhausted and needed assistance to descend to the Southwest Couloir.

Rangers, some of whom stayed overnight to care for Dover, reached the safety of the Lupine Meadows trailhead by 1 p.m. Sunday. It was the fourth major search and rescue operation in the park this year.


Climbers rescued off Tetons
Gazette Wyoming Bureau

Three members of an outdoor club from Provo, Utah, had to be rescued late Saturday and early Sunday after attempting to climb Middle Teton at Grand Teton National Park.

After receiving a cell phone call at 3 p.m. from one of the stranded climbers, park rangers initiated a technical rescue to return the young men to the Lupine Meadows trailhead.

Two separate parties from the climbing group were trying to beat each other to the summit of Middle Teton when they got off route and became stranded on precipitous and icy cliffs, park officials said.

Jonathan Johnson and Paul Jordan, both 29, ended up near the Ellingwood Couloir.

Adam Dover, 28, of the second party, became exhausted and required assistance to safely descend the Southwest Couloir.

Park officials said that because the two parties failed to properly plan for their mountaineering trip and did not know where they were on the mountain, they were not prepared for the terrain.

Their problems, coupled with exaggerated and erroneous information provided by one of the group, prompted the need for a full-scale, highly technical rescue involving more than 12 park staff in two simultaneous operations.

Park officials said the climbers could have died if the rescuers had not found them.

The climbers' decision to stage a race to the summit and their lack of pre-planning, physical conditioning, route knowledge and equipment were "totally inappropriate" for the wildness of the Teton Range, park officials said.

The rescue operation began Saturday afternoon and lasted well into Sunday with rangers working throughout the night.

The length of time was necessary to set up consecutive trips over ice-covered rocks in darkness with the stranded climbers.

Once Dover was rescued, he was unable to continue hiking past the Platforms area of Garnet Canyon.

Rangers stayed with him overnight and monitored his medical condition while providing him with food, water and shelter.

The complicated rescue of Johnson and Jordan continued simultaneously with the rescue of Dover.

Rangers reached the Lupine Meadows trailhead with them at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Superintendent Steve Martin praised the park rangers involved in the rescue.

He reminded climbers to be fully prepared and knowledgeable about planned routes before attempting highly technical climbs.

Climbers should always be prepared with extra equipment and food in the event that an emergency forces them to spend more time in the backcountry than originally planned.

The rescue this weekend was the fourth major search and rescue operation in the park this year.


Utah Climbers Rescued in Tetons
ABC4 News
LAST UPDATE: 6/9/2003 11:03:00 PM

(Moose, Wyoming-AP) -- Three men from a Utah outdoor club were rescued from the Middle Teton in Grand Teton National Park over the weekend.

Park spokeswoman Joan Anzelmo says two parties from the group based in Provo apparently tried to beat each other to the summit Saturday when they got off route and became stranded on icy and precipitous cliffs.

Anzelmo said a highly technical rescue was initiated after rangers received a cell phone call from one of the parties that exaggerated their predicament and provided some erroneous information.

The rescue, which began Saturday, lasted well into Sunday with rangers working through the night. Jonathan Johnson and Paul Jordan, both 29, ended up near the Ellingwood Couloir while 28-year-old Adam Dover became exhausted and needed assistance to descend to the Southwest Couloir.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)