WILSON, Wyo. — An individual was injured today after triggering a large avalanche while skiing on Rendezvous Peak with a partner, Teton County Search and Rescue (TCSAR) said in a statement this evening.
According to TCSAR, the two skiers entered the backcountry from the top of Teton Pass, with the goal of skiing a drainage several canyons to the north. At midday, while using climbing skins attached to their skis, they crossed a southeast-facing slope on Rendezvous Peak when they triggered a large avalanche.
One skier was caught and carried about 500 yards down the slope. He became buried up to his chest but was able to keep his head and arms above the snow. After he was recovered by his partner, he learned he had suffered a leg injury as a result of the avalanche.
The individuals made an initial call to Teton County Dispatch to report the incident but said they believed they would be able to ski out on their own. In that conversation, they unintentionally provided inaccurate information about their location, believing they were in a different canyon.
About an hour later, the skiers had another conversation with TCSAR and recognized their need for a rescue.
Although clouds were “swirling and moving in”, TCSAR initiated a helicopter response with ground teams as a backup in case the weather deteriorated. The helicopter departed the TCSAR hangar with two SAR members and a pilot. The ship was able to land near the skiers and dropped off the two SAR members before lifting to fly around the scene. The SAR members arrived equipped with 24-hour gear in case the helicopter could not return due to weather. The victims received initial patient care and volunteers helped the injured skier to the landing zone. Once clear, the heli returned, the patient was loaded and both skiers and SAR members were flown back to the hangar in Jackson.
After the first nine months of 2022 proved to be the busiest ever for TCSAR, this was the team’s first active mission since October 9.