Busy days for rescuers
By Emma Breysse, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
January 12, 2013
Teton County Search and Rescue teams spent more than 12 hours Thursday and Friday on Teton Pass performing two missions.
Dr. David Shlim, of Kelly, was flown to St. John’s Medical Center around noon after suffering chest pains in the backcountry. He was flown to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center shortly afterward, said St. John’s spokeswoman Karen Connelly.
As of press time, EIRMC spokeswoman Cindy Smith-Putnam said hospital staff were still evaluating his condition.
Shlim’s call for help came around 11 a.m., less than two hours after rescue crews had located a pair of snowboarders who spent Thursday night lost in the Mosquito Creek drainage.
Adam Doherty, 39, and Chris Blatter, 56, both of Palisade, Colo., called 911 at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday to report that they were lost and had lost one of their snowboards, Teton County Undersheriff Bob Gilliam said. Eight Search and Rescue volunteers searched for the pair until midnight.
Since Doherty and Blatter said they were able to build a fire and had protective gear with them, rescuers determined it was safe to halt the search and wait for first light, Gilliam said.
Friday morning, crews went out on snow machines and in the Search and Rescue helicopter, Gilliam said. After spotting Doherty and Blatter’s tracks from the air, rescuers found their camp and flew the snowboarders out. Both men were uninjured and unharmed, Gilliam said.
Shortly after Doherty and Blatter were extracted, skiers on Teton Pass came across Shlim sitting in the snow in the area about one and a half miles south of the pass, said Wilson resident Tim Young, who was among those who offered aid.
Shlim, a well-known Jackson Hole physician, was suffering chest pains and shortness of breath and had a tingling sensation in his arms, all of which are typical signs of a heart attack, Young said.
The skiers contacted emergency responders, and Young said he was able to reach Teton Pass Ambassador Jay Pistono for help.
Skiers continued to stop to help, and Pistono said he asked every backcountry user he passed to lend a hand.
“Everyone I mentioned it to showed up there,” Pistono said. “It was just great to see the ski community respond so quickly.”
A crew of about 20 volunteers rigged up a makeshift transport from a tarp and ski poles and carried Shlim out, Pistono said. They balanced Shlim in the middle of the tarp while a second row of volunteers walked on either side to widen the track, Young said.
One of the skiers who stopped had an aspirin. Others had extra clothes and safety blankets to keep Shlim warm in the five-below-zero temperatures, Young said.
“I think it all helped a lot,” Young said. “It just goes to show you should always be prepared.”
The Search and Rescue helicopter arrived, and volunteers loaded Shlim for his flight to St. John’s.
Search and Rescue received a third call Friday about a skier injured out of bounds at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, but the incident was handled by ski patrol, Gilliam said.