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Climber Survives Rockslide in Tetons

[Photo] Grand Teton National Park

Rockfall in the South Fork of the Teton’s Garnet Canyon buried a Wisconsin climber yesterday morning. The 54-year-old Phil White sustained several injuries and was evacuated by a group of climbing guides and park rangers.

White and his two climbing partners planned to climb the Middle Teton and were taking an unusual approach trail to the base, the Yellowstone Gate reports. At 9:15 a.m. a rockslide dislodged from the north aspect of Nez Perce, west of the Hourglass Couloir. White was the only climber in the group caught in the debris.

Two Exum Mountain climbing guides responded to the accident and worked to unbury and stabilize White. Park rangers arrived on the scene two hours later and, with the help of the guides and other bystanders, moved White to a location where he could be rescued by a helicopter. An hour later, White was placed in a litter and flown to Lupine Meadows where the park’s rescue cache is located. There, he received further medical attention and sent to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls.

[Photo] Grand Teton National Park

“The Teton Range has received afternoon precipitation over the last few days. Dry conditions followed by precipitation create prime conditions for rockfall to occur,” the NPS press release reads. “Backcountry users, especially in Garnet Canyon, should expect to see additional rockfall in the coming days.”

The north side of Nez Perce showing the location of Phil White’s burial. [Photo] Grand Teton National Park

In 2007, another rockslide missed two climbers descending from the Complete Exum on the Grand Teton by 50 feet. Read their account in the September 6, 2007 NewsWire:

We heard a huge crack we thought was thunder. But the rumbling kept coming. We both looked up, and I was in awe: a huge rockslide was right over us. All I could do was yell ‘run!’…

Sources: August 27, 2013 Grand Teton National Park press release,