Two hikers were rescued at Grand Teton National Park on Friday after spending a night lost in the Wyoming wilderness.
According to the National Park Service, Michael Kramer, 27, of Miami, Florida, and Tiffany Morhaim, 26, of North Miami Beach, Florida, were on a hike in the Cascade and Paintbrush canyons on Thursday. They ventured off the trail and soon found themselves lost in Leigh Canyon.
When the two hikers realized they were lost and were not prepared to spend the night in the backcountry, they activated a satellite personal locator device.
The Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received notification that the device was activated at 9:35 p.m. Thursday near the drainage below Grizzly Bear Lake.
Rangers quickly responded to the Jenny Lake Rescue Cache at Lupine Meadows to determine what rescue efforts would be possible. However, the darkness eliminated the possibility of a helicopter flight, and the very rugged and densely vegetated terrain of Leigh Canyon, which contains no maintained trails, would have slowed a ground-based rescue effort.
A second satellite location received at 9:51 p.m. indicated the party had moved locations and was likely uninjured, thereby reducing the urgency of the rescue effort, according to park officials.
Rangers at Jenny Lake were joined by the Teton Interagency Contract Helicopter early Friday morning to begin a reconnaissance flight.
After the first flight failed to find the lost hikers, rangers received an updated satellite location further down Leigh Canyon. A second flight found the two hikers, who were waving for a rescue.
The helicopter was able to land nearby and rangers contacted the hikers and assessed the situation. The exhausted hikers were flown out of the backcountry at 10 a.m.
Grand Teton officials noted that this was the first major search and rescue incident at the park this season.
The National Park Service also said backcountry travelers need to know that hikes in high elevation areas of the Teton Mountain Range at this time of year require knowledge and experience crossing snow, using an ice axe and finding routes in the mountains.
Those traveling deep into the backcountry should be prepared to spend the night, even if they do not plan to, according to park officials. They should also carry extra food, a flashlight or headlamp, and a map. Helicopter-based rescues are not always possible given the time of day, weather and availability of rescue resources.