gear sale to honor Rando Steve

By Jim Stanford on June 15, 2012

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Steve Romeo died in an avalanche in March with friend Chris Onufer.

Steve Romeo lived to ski. He loved the mountains. And boy, did he love his gear that allowed him to ski, run and fish the Tetons.

The late ski mountaineer accumulated a Matterhorn’s worth of gear while working as assistant manager at Skinny Skis and running the satellite shop in Moose each summer. And in recent years, thanks to his blog, Teton AT, he received all sorts of free products for testing and promotion.

To honor his memory, friends and family are selling much of Romeo’s gear. The sale will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday (and Sunday, if any remains) at 3025 Aster Lane, just north of The Aspens and C–V Ranch on Highway 390.

Skis, boots, poles, bindings, clothing, packs, ice axes, helmets, tents and sleeping bags will be available. There also will be waders and fishing gear, other climbing accessories and a wide assortment of running shoes.

Proceeds will benefit the Steve Romeo Memorial Fund, which his family hopes to use for youth skiing/mountaineering scholarships or conservation.

Rando Steve would want us all well equipped. This way, we can carry his spirit into the mountains with us on our next adventure.

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Exum throwing locals a rope

By Jim Stanford on June 6, 2012

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After a mild spring, many summits will be in reach earlier this year.

Temperature swings of 40 and even 50 degrees are not uncommon in Jackson Hole, but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a transition from summer to winter weather as abrupt as yesterday afternoon’s.

Regardless, the high peaks should be accessible to climbers earlier this year, thanks to an early melt-off. And ski mountaineers still have a few weeks of easy gliding down to the Meadows in Garnet Canyon.

Given these opportunities, Exum Mountain Guides is offering two-for-one deals for residents on both sides of the Teton Range through June 30. The specials apply to day climbs, Grand Teton packages, Grand Teton prep schools and ski mountaineering (aside from skiing the Grand). Exum also is giving $99 mountain safety courses on June 16, 23 and 30 to teach climbers the basics.

The company is reaching out to locals while looking to keep guides busy until tourists arrive. “This is a great way for Exum to thank the ones who have been supporting us for years,” Exum president Nat Patridge said.

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crash highlights rescue risks

By Jim Stanford on February 16, 2012

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A helicopter ferries searchers in Grand Teton National Park in April. Last year, rangers used a helicopter nearly 30 times on search and rescue missions.

As many commenters have pointed out, yesterday’s helicopter crash that killed Teton County Search and Rescue volunteer Ray Shriver serves as a painful reminder that rescuers risk their lives every time they go into the backcountry.

The Teton County Sheriff’s Office has released a few more details about the crash (see release after jump). Notably, the chopper never reached the scene of the snowmobile accident on Togwotee Pass. The helicopter was hovering, looking for a landing spot, when it suddenly lost altitude and crashed, authorities said.

This is the first fatality on the team since it formed in 1993; before that, it had operated for years as a loose-knit group of volunteers. Only once had a team member been seriously injured, the result of a fall in the Darby Canyon caves.

We’ve read about so many daring, and successful, rescues in the Tetons over the years — whether featuring GTNP rangers or TCSAR volunteers — that perhaps we had come to take helicopter missions for granted. Not anymore.

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park rescues set precedent, if not record

By Jim Stanford on October 11, 2011

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This helicopter rescue in August resulted in a climber being cited for disorderly conduct.

Grand Teton National Park rangers may or may not have set a record for the number of major rescue operations this year, depending on how the tally is kept.

With the rescue Sept. 30 of Mark Wilcox, a former News&Guide excursion columnist, in Open Canyon, the park performed 30 major operations (plus three assists of other agencies) in the fiscal year, said spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles. The fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Comparisons with past years are tricky, depending on whether fiscal or calendar year is used for the tally, she said. Suffice to say this was one of the busiest years for rangers in the park’s history.

Of more note was the citation for disorderly conduct the park issued to one of two climbers involved in an Aug. 19 rescue. The incident was the first time climbers triggered a SPOT emergency locator beacon inside the park.

At the time, commenters howled that the climbers, neither of whom were injured, should be held accountable. Well, one of them was — just not the one most people expected. Jenny Lake Subdistrict Ranger Scott Guenther took time to explain his decision, which serves as a lesson for backcountry responsibility.

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Teton park ties record for rescues

By Jim Stanford on August 22, 2011

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Rangers used the short-haul method for the Grand Stand rescue Friday, after a climber got lost and activated a search beacon.

The sight of choppers buzzing the Teton peaks is becoming almost a daily occurrence.

Last week Kelsey Dayton of the Casper Star-Tribune reported that rangers were nearing a record tally for major rescues in Grand Teton National Park. With two more helicopter operations this weekend, the park has tied the record, with 30 so far this year.

The latest incidents involve climbers from out of town, one of whom got lost on the Grand Teton and requested a rescue, and the other a woman who sustained likely severe injuries from a fall in Death Canyon. The park news blog has details.

Last year, park rangers undertook 17 major rescues — defined as costing more than $500 — and in 2009 made 16, Dayton reported. Using a helicopter costs $800 per hour, so every chopper mission is a major incident.

Also, lightning has sparked the Red Rock Fire in the Gros Ventre Wilderness, 6 miles from Slide Lake. The fire blew up Sunday and is estimated at 950 acres.

(Photo via GTNP)

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