The Jackson Hole Ski Resort recently installed a via ferrata (VF) course on the upper mountain near the Rendezvous gondola. In preparation for their grand opening to the public, they contracted Rigging for Rescue to conduct a rope rescue training for their Mountain Patrol staff. The Mountain Patrol is comprised of ski patrollers who staff a base area medical clinic during the summertime. They respond to incidents related to mountain bikers, hikers, and other resort visitors recreating on the slopes of the Jackson Hole ski area. And now they are responsible for rope rescue on the VF course.
The Jackson Hole VF course offers some unique rope rescue challenges. The relatively easy part is conducting a pickoff and getting the injured participant to ground level. There are anchors everywhere and the injured party will be confined to a known area. The harder part is what to do from there – the terrain at the base of the VF course is steep and talus-covered. We introduced a variety of techniques including a Guiding Line that utilized one of the gondola support towers as a high directional.