16 Climbers Saved, One Dead on Grand Teton

Jul 27, 2010
Outside Magazine

RonAlmog's lightning photo 

Courtesy of RonAlmog on Flickr.

Last Wednesday 17 climbers were caught in a lightning storm above 13,000 feet on the Grand Teton, the Jackson Hole Daily reports. All of the climbers were injured in the storm, which peaked around midday, and one lost his life.

Grand Teton National Park rangers were able to use two helicopters to airlift 16 of the climbers off of the mountain. The final climber, 21-year-old Brandon Oldenkamp, remained missing at nightfall. The search for him was stayed until the following day.

Oldenkamp's body was spotted Thursday morning, and it was removed from the mountain shortly thereafter, the Associated Press reports. He appeared to have fallen at least 1,000 feet. Park officials said that he must have been concussed by a lightning strike.

A. J. Wheeler, a physician and medical advisor for Grand Teton National Park, said, "Multiple patients reported being struck three, four, five times. We saw a whole range of injuries from bumps and bruises to lightningburns and electrical injuries to secondary trauma from being thrown."

The other climbers are being treated at local medical facilities. One was admitted to intensive care, but all are expected to fully recover.

--Riley Blanton

Filed To: Adventure, Events, Climbing

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