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Fall on Rock, Climbing Unroped, Party Separated, Exceeding Abilities, No Hard Hat, Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Cascade Canyon


Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park, Cascade Canyon

On September 23, at 2230 Grand Teton dispatch received a call from Mike Shaw (23) reporting his partner, Keith Berlin (24) was missing after the pair had become separated while rock scrambling in Cascade Canyon. Berlin had scrambled up a rock outcropping ahead of Shaw but was not there when Shaw arrived at the same location. Shaw decided that the climbing above there looked too difficult for him and returned to the base of the outcropping. When Berlin did not return, Shaw explored the area, calling Berlin's name for two or three hours but did not receive a response.

At 0030 on September 26, Shaw returned with Bangers Gabriel and Wise to Berlin’s last seen location, an area of fractured rock buttresses separated by steep talus near the base of Storm Point's southeast side approximately three quarters of a mile west of Inspiration Point. Gabriel and Wise searched the area for three hours by headlamp but were unable to locate Berlin.

At 0820 an eight member NPS team with two search dogs began searching the area between the Symmetry Couloir drainage and the south face of Storm Point. At 1100 the Bridger-Teton contract helicopter (46N) was called to assist with the search by performing aerial reconnaissance with three spotters on board.

At 1125 Banger Morris found Berlin among some boulders located several hundred feet up the hill north of the trail. Berlin had evidently fallen a significant distance off a nearby rock outcropping not long after he was last seen by Shaw. Berlin complained of head, neck and hip pain, had sustained facial lacerations and displayed a diminished level of response. Berlin was immobilized with a cervical collar and full body vacuum splint and placed in a litter. After two non-technical lowerings, he was taken down the trail to the west shore boat dock. Berlin was shuttled across Jenny Lake by boat and then transported by ambulance to St. John's Hospital in Jackson. He was treated for injuries that included a crushed lumbar vertebrae and a significant concussion. (Source: Benny Jackson, SAB Banger, Grand Teton National Park)