A video of a helicopter recovery of a dead climber from Grand Teton

1 minute, 11 seconds Read


by Dr. Roger I. Roots,
Founder of Lysander Spooner University

Last year I attempted (unsuccessfully) to climb Grand Teton via the “upper Exum” route. I had twice previously summited by way of the easier ‘Owen-Spaulding’ route. While trudging uphill above the area known as ‘the meadow,’ I observed a helicopter flying around above.

I also remember being passed by a very fit hiker bearing a pack that seemed to indicate he was with the Jackson Hole Guide Service. I am not often passed on high mountain trails.

Just below the ‘Lower Saddle,’ I encountered a man and a woman descending. I remember thinking they seemed unfriendly at the time. I asked if they knew anything about the helicopter flying around above, and they indicated they were ‘waiting’ to find out what it was about.

Upon reaching the lower saddle, I was immediately confronted by a uniformed park ranger who asked me about my intentions. He told me that the Exum route was off-limits and that I would need to climb Grand Teton by way of the Owen-Spalding route. The ranger indicated there had been a climbing fatality along the beginnings of the upper exum route.

An hour or so later, I was up above a pair of rangers who were wrapping the dead body of a climber for helicopter removal. I filmed–unexpertly–this helicopter recovery.

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