Grand Teton climber receives disorderly conduct fine

2011-09-29T22:00:00Z Grand Teton climber receives disorderly conduct fineBy KELSEY DAYTON Star-Tribune staff writer Casper Star-Tribune Online
September 29, 2011 10:00 pm  • 

LANDER — A climber whose partner activated his SPOT locator device and triggered what is believed to be the first rescue in Grand Teton National Park activated by the emergency GPS device was fined for disorderly conduct.

Dave Shade, 33, of Missoula, Mont., left his climbing partner, Jesse Selwyn, of Florence, Mich., on the Grand Teton Aug. 19 after Selwyn called for rescue, but before rangers arrived on scene.

The two planned to climb the Black Ice Couloir on the northwest side of the Grand Teton, a press release from the park said. The two climbers couldn’t find the couloir’s entrance, got off route and ended up on a feature called the Grandstand. After discussing how to proceed, Selwyn said he thought he would be injured or die if they tried to retrace their route.

Selwyn activated his SPOT. A SPOT is a satellite global positioning device that when activated can send an emergency signal with your location. Rangers hovered over the scene in a helicopter where Selwyn signaled he needed rescue. Shade told Selwyn he didn’t need rescue and left with the party’s climbing rope, before confirming rangers were going to be able to return to rescue Selwyn.

Rangers cited Shade because he left his partner, taking their only climbing rope. Selwyn was left without a guaranteed rescue. Rangers reached him and removed him from the mountain via short-haul, or clipped underneath a helicopter, as darkness quickly approached

Shade’s charge of disorderly conduct carries a $110 fine, said Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles, a park spokeswoman. Fines are rarely given in rescue situations, she said. But Shade’s action created a hazardous situation, forcing rangers to perform a late-hour rescue. Rescue is not guaranteed in the backcountry.

This year rangers responded to two rescues called in via SPOT locators, but they weren’t in Grand Teton National Park, Anzelmo-Sarles. Rangers believe this rescue is the first one in the park boundaries triggered by a SPOT locator, Anzelmo-Sarles said.

While some national parks have struggled with SPOT rescues, because people activate their SPOTs accidentally or for superficial reasons, it hasn’t been an issue in Grand Teton, she said.

SPOT locators can also be used to “check in” or send a loved one a signal they are OK. Most of the calls rangers in Grand Teton receive regarding the locators are family members worried because a loved one in the backcountry didn’t use the device to check in, Anzelmo-Sarles said. Usually the backcountry person had simply forgotten.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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