Grand Teton Traverse notes

I am currently training for an attempt at the Grand Traverse in the Grand Teton National Park. If this proves to be too much, we'll fall back to the Cathedral Traverse.

In any case, this ambitious goal provides structure and motivation for my summer training schedule.

Search and rescue organization

The Jenny Lake Rangers are responsible for search and rescue operations in Grand Teton National Park.


The Jenny Lakes Rangers previously published search and rescue summaries of "major operations":

I couldn't find any summaries newer than 2021.

Here are examples related to the grand traverse:

Park Rangers performed a short-haul rescue of an injured climber who fell while ascending the Koven Couloir. The climber, a 39 year old female, was transported by helicopter short-haul to the Lupine Meadows Rescue Cache, transferred to a park ambulance, and taken to St Johns Hospital.

A climber ascending Teewinot Mountain slipped on a "wet patch" of rock and fell approximately 40-60 feet while ascending the East Face route. After a short-haul insertion to the scene, rangers treated the climber's injuries and packaged him in a stokes litter. He was extracted via short-haul to the rescue cache in Lupine Meadows, where he was transferred to Medic 1 for transport to St Johns Hospital.

There are more examples in the yearly reports.

SAR insurance

Most SAR costs are not billed unless you need "external resources", like a helicopter 1.

It's hard to say how many search and rescue operations require a helicopter in the park, since NPS doesn't make this data publically available.

Teton County SAR has an amazing website, but they operate outside of the national park. Their rescue reports are great. I wish the NPS would publish similar reports.

In 2023, the helicopter was deployed 23% of the time (11 out of 48 incidents).

I would guess that the Jenny Lake Rangers would deploy the helicopter more frequently--more hiking and climbing, compared with many skiers in Teton County.

Insurance options:

Of the 2 options, Garmin seems like a no-brainer.