Sep 30, 2011 at 11:21 am #1279997
LANDER — A climber whose partner activated his SPOT locator device and triggered what is believed to be the first rescue in Grand Teton National Park activated by the emergency GPS device was fined for disorderly conduct.
Dave Shade, 33, of Missoula, Mont., left his climbing partner, Jesse Selwyn, of Florence, Mich., on the Grand Teton Aug. 19 after Selwyn called for rescue, but before rangers arrived on scene.
The two planned to climb the Black Ice Couloir on the northwest side of the Grand Teton, a press release from the park said. The two climbers couldn’t find the couloir’s entrance, got off route and ended up on a feature called the Grandstand. After discussing how to proceed, Selwyn said he thought he would be injured or die if they tried to retrace their route.
Selwyn activated his SPOT. A SPOT is a satellite global positioning device that when activated can send an emergency signal with your location. Rangers hovered over the scene in a helicopter where Selwyn signaled he needed rescue. Shade told Selwyn he didn’t need rescue and left with the party’s climbing rope, before confirming rangers were going to be able to return to rescue Selwyn.
Rangers cited Shade because he left his partner, taking their only climbing rope. Selwyn was left without a guaranteed rescue. Rangers reached him and removed him from the mountain via short-haul, or clipped underneath a helicopter, as darkness quickly approached
Shade’s charge of disorderly conduct carries a $110 fine, said Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, a park spokeswoman. Fines are rarely given in rescue situations, she said. But Shade’s action created a hazardous situation, forcing rangers to perform a late-hour rescue. Rescue is not guaranteed in the backcountry.
This year rangers responded to two rescues called in via SPOT locators, but they weren’t in Grand Teton National Park, Anzelmo-Sarles. Rangers believe this rescue is the first one in the park boundaries triggered by a SPOT locator, Anzelmo-Sarles said.
While some national parks have struggled with SPOT rescues, because people activate their SPOTs accidentally or for superficial reasons, it hasn’t been an issue in Grand Teton, she said.
SPOT locators can also be used to “check in” or send a loved one a signal they are OK. Most of the calls rangers in Grand Teton receive regarding the locators are family members worried because a loved one in the backcountry didn’t use the device to check in, Anzelmo-Sarles said. Usually the backcountry person had simply forgotten.Sep 30, 2011 at 2:40 pm #1785299
I presume that one heck of an argument was in process before the helicopter arrived and I wonder if the rescued party had to pay for the chopper. If so, was it more than $110 bucks? Might have turned out to be frugal to head down.Sep 30, 2011 at 3:10 pm #1785306
@servingkoLocale: Intermountain West
I always tell my wife before a trip that if they put a heli in the air, make sure they understand that it's on their dime as I will most likely wave them off. It's the Welchman in me.Oct 1, 2011 at 3:49 pm #1785616
Title 36: Parks, Forests, and Public Property
PART 2—RESOURCE PROTECTION, PUBLIC USE AND RECREATION
§ 2.34 Disorderly conduct.
(a) A person commits disorderly conduct when, with intent to cause public alarm, nuisance, jeopardy or violence, or knowingly or recklessly creating a risk thereof, such person commits any of the following prohibited acts:
(1) Engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent behavior.
(2) Uses language, an utterance, or gesture, or engages in a display or act that is obscene, physically threatening or menacing, or done in a manner that is likely to inflict injury or incite an immediate breach of the peace.
(3) Makes noise that is unreasonable, considering the nature and purpose of the actor's conduct, location, time of day or night, and other factors that would govern the conduct of a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances.
(4) Creates or maintains a hazardous or physically offensive condition.
(b) The regulations contained in this section apply, regardless of land ownership, on all lands and waters within a park area that are under the legislative jurisdiction of the United States.
[48 FR 30282, June 30, 1983, as amended at 52 FR 35240, Sept. 18, 1987]
Edited to add link to the code for additional info.Oct 2, 2011 at 7:21 am #1785747
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Depends on what state you are in and who is doing the flying – out here the military uses rescues often as training for their teams. So the rescue is in theory "free" to the victim but yeah, they don't pamper you either……Oct 3, 2011 at 7:02 am #1786053
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Though the blurb doesn't make him sound it, Dave's a good guy. Must have been a $hitty situation for everyone.Oct 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm #1786334
@chuckie_cheeseLocale: Arizona and British Columbia
As a I climber, I really want to know more about the situation and why one uninjured climber couldn't descend. With a rope, you should be able to rappel or at least be lowered by your partner. Anyone with alpine climbing ability should easily be able to either.
Why couldn't both of them gotten off with their own power if they were uninjured?Oct 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm #1786352
id like to know the answer as well
i read that the non rescued climber did 4 rappels back to the valhalla traverse … i can understand if they couldnt backtrack a traverse safely …. but generally the lower you get the better yr chances, especially if SAR cant reach you in time and you need a bivy
i suspect, and this is pure speculation, that one of the climbers panickedOct 4, 2011 at 7:01 pm #1786808
that's what I was thinking too.
Must have been some lack of communication.Oct 19, 2011 at 6:35 am #1792398
It just does NOT happen. Backcountry SAR policy in the US in strongly against charging for rescue. I'm assuming that Shane abandoned his partner because he was worried about the cost of rescue. And it simply would NOT have happened. There are various urban myths out there about paying for rescue but they mostly boil down to a single case where a climber was sent a bill but collection of the bill was never pursued. And the SAR community was very critical of the sending fo the bill.Oct 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm #1792648
@hikinggrannyLocale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
They do charge for the use of the helicopter or the horse outfitter for rescue in Wyoming.Oct 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm #1792662
@moondustLocale: Southern Sierras
This makes no sense. What if there had been no SPOT? One climber refuses to backtrack. After maybe some heated discussion, the other climber takes the rope and goes back. When he gets to where he can communicate, he calls for help for the stuck climber. Is that disorderly conduct? I'm sure even with a SPOT, the climber who left would have made sure the other climber got help, so what is the difference?
I think someone on the rescue side of things was p*ssed and determined to make sure both climbers suffered in some way.
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