At 11 a.m. on Monday, June 17, Grand Teton National Park rangers responded to a report of a 57-year-old male with an injury who was climbing near the Black Rock Chimney on the Grand Teton. Jim Williams of Jackson, Wyoming was leading a client on a guided trip of the Grand Teton for an authorized park concessionaire when the snow that he was standing on collapsed, causing him to take a short fall. During that brief fall, Williams caught a crampon on the ice and sustained an injury.
Williams was able to get himself and his client through technical terrain from the Black Rock Chimney to just above the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton. This effort involved descending across rock, ice and snow and required multiple rappels. Rangers commend Williams for self-rescuing with his client to the extent that he did.
Park rangers met Williams and his client at 3:15 p.m. just above the Lower Saddle of the Grand Teton. After assessing several factors relevant to a ground-based evacuation via rescue litter—including terrain conditions, distance to the trailhead, and the potential for injury to rescuers—a decision was made to fly Williams to the valley floor via helicopter. The aerial evacuation meant that fewer rescuers spent less time in precarious conditions.
Williams arrived at the Lupine Meadows rescue cache on the valley floor at 4:14 p.m. To conduct the aerial evacuation, rangers requested a ship from Yellowstone National Park because neither of the two Teton Interagency contract helicopters was available for the rescue operation. One ship is on fire assignment in Utah, and the other is not yet in contract service to Teton Interagency Fire.
After the contract ship landed at Lupine Meadows, Williams transported himself to medical care in Jackson, Wyoming.