The Fine Line

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Best Episodes of The Fine Line

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Four Pines is one of the most popular ski descents in the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort backcountry. And yet, when something goes horribly wrong, as it did for Tom Gehling on the snowy afternoon of February 5, 2019, it can be like another planet and have life-altering consequences. Gehling's accident and dramatic helicopter rescue are the subject of the newest episode of The Fine Line. The episode features honest dialogue about decision-making during high avalanche danger, complacency for lift-served backcountry, “epic powder skiing,” and why having a rescue-ready helicopter is so critical to Teton County, Wyoming.
In Chapter 3, James Moore talks with rescuer Lizzie Watson, his wife, Betsy, and brother, Jake Peasley, about his rescue, recovery and even some unexpected moments of humor as rescuers rushed him to safety. Photo: TCSAR team member Lizzie Watson was medical lead in responding to Moore's injuries. James' wife, Betsy, stands in the middle.
In Chapter 2, James Moore and his brother, Jake Peasley, describe the intensity of the grizzly attack, and their hasty retreat from the wilderness via horseback to get to help. Photo: TCSAR team member Lizzie Watson was medical lead in responding to Moore's injuries. James' wife, Betsy, stands in the middle.
James Moore had experience hunting in grizzly country. And if the Teton Wilderness is anything, it's full of grizzly bears. Moore struck out for the Whetstone Mountain area with his brother, Jake Peasley, and good friend Brent Bongers. It didn't take them long to spot their first grizzly. In a three-part series, The Fine Line follows Moore and his party through the hunt, the attack and the fight for survival that all unfolded on Sept. 25, 2017. Photo: TCSAR team member Lizzie Watson was medical lead in responding to James Moore's injuries. James' wife, Betsy, stands in the middle.
On Jan. 18, 2019, Jackson skier Jenny Karns fell upside down into a terrain trap during a powder day at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. With her ski partner well ahead and unaware, she became trapped, with just one ski sticking out of the snow. Just seconds from suffocating, she was found and dug out by three people who happened to be skiing by. One of those skiers joins Jenny in the studio, as well as Kirk "Sparky" Speckhals, a longtime JHMR ski patroller, who was first on scene and offers perspective on Snow Immersion Suffocation, a danger that lurks on powder days.
The wind. It’s a dangerous variable, stripping snow from one zone and then loading up another. Even when danger is moderate and a ski route, well known, wind can be a wild card. With a heavy dose of wind in the weather this month, we replay an episode about skiing the Spoon Couloir. Rene Etter-Garrette had already started questioning the risk of dying in an avalanche when he and two friends headed into Grand Teton National Park on February 4, 2016. But that day, avalanche danger had been rated moderate. And Rene planned to ski a line that he'd already successfully tackled several times before. He'd been living in Jackson Hole for six winters. During the ski season he worked at a local shop tuning skis. He'd found mentors willing to share their backcountry knowledge. This time, he lead the way as he and two friends headed for the Spoon Couloir.
On February 20, 2018, IFMGA-certified mountain guide Paul Rachele was trying to set up a winter climbing route on a sharp crag off Teton Pass called The Reef. As he was setting the final anchor, he ran out of rope and fell 100 feet, sustaining numerous severe injuries. His call for help set in motion a rapid response as rescuers raced against the clock to get him to safety before nightfall. Conversation includes TCSAR members Phillip Fox and Alex St. Clair. Photo: Paul Rachele
Bernhard Rietmann had a great sense of wanderlust. His drive for adventure landed him in Jackson Hole in the 1960s. Back when tourists only came in summer and innkeepers routinely hung up a gone fishing sign after Labor Day. After decades of exploring the valley, Rietmann knew the Granite Creek Drainage well. He often went hunting there solo. On Sept. 23, 2015, carrying a sandwich, a water bottle and a rifle, the 84-year-old went looking for deer. When he didn't return, a massive effort mobilized to find him. In this episode, Rietmann's son, Max, and longtime TCSAR volunteer Alex Norton give an inside look at how the search panned out.
The forecast looked promising the day before. But when climbers set out to summit the Grand Teton on July 21, 2010, a thunderstorm blasted the iconic peak. As repeated lightning strikes pinned climbers to steep, exposed terrain, rangers suddenly found themselves racing to save 17 people, even as the mountain remained shrouded in storm clouds. The incident turned into the largest rescue effort ever undertaken on the Grand. This podcast is produced by Backcountry Zero, with support from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole. Backcountry Zero is a project of the Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation. You can support this project and the volunteers at Teton County Search and Rescue by making an online donation today at tetoncountysar.org/donate. If you like listening to the Fine Line, considering sharing us with a friend. Host: Rebecca Huntington
Spencer and Jessica Christiansen knew once they rappelled into the Darby Canyon Ice Cave they couldn't turn back. Spencer had done what he could to research the route, but the maze-like caves are mostly unmapped and ever changing. As clues pulled them in misleading directions, the couple found themselves trapped underground for two mentally and physically grueling days in August of 2018. You can support this project and the volunteers at Teton County Search and Rescue. Make an online donation today by going to tetoncountysar.org/donate. This podcast is produced by Backcountry Zero, with support from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole. Backcountry Zero is a project of the Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation.
An experienced athlete, Sally Franklyn started skiing with her parents before she could even walk. On March 24, 2012, she and three friends headed for a steep couloir called Once is Enough south of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort boundary. When the 26-year-old dropped into the couloir she took a life-altering tumble more than 800 feet down chute. Friends call her Superwoman Sally, not only surviving that day but for fighting her way through what's been a painstaking recovery.
After taking a wrong turn on his snowboard in a whiteout, Pierre Bergman ended up stranded and alone in the backcountry. The 26-year-old works at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort where he skis everyday, but even experienced skiers can lose their way in blowing snow. Not knowing if rescuers would come for him, Bergman started hiking back up the mountain through waist-deep snow.
Greg Epstein cut his teeth skiing the backcountry of Jackson Hole. Along with friends, he had explored every nook and cranny of Granite Canyon just outside resort boundaries in Grand Teton National Park. As part of his job at Teton Gravity Research, he ran avalanche safety and wilderness first aid workshops for the film company's production crew and athletes. So he was prepared for a rescue, he just didn't expect it to be his own. Epstein revisits his rescue with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort ski patrollers Reed Finlay and Jeff Burke.
As avalanche season approaches, here's a re-play of our most popular episode ever. When you move to Jackson in your 20’s, you can suddenly find yourself thrust into an extreme playground where the stakes are literally life and death. Accomplished ski racers Jim Ryan and Connor Nolan had the skills to tackle some of Jackson’s burliest lines. Their desire to ski those big lines blinded them to the level of risk they were taking until the day they attempted Gothic Couloir. Rescuer Cody Lockhart understood that desire.
In October of 2012, Jackson architect Paul Duncker met up with friends for a fall hunt in the heart of the Gros Ventre mountains. When Paul didn't return to hunting camp that night, his friends called search and rescue. Early the next morning Search and Rescue volunteers fanned out across the Dry Cottonwood Creek Drainage. But as they looked for Paul, they didn't encounter a single clue. The Fine Line shares real stories of adventure, risk and rescue in the backcountry of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This podcast is produced by Backcountry Zero, with support from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole. Backcountry Zero is a project of the Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation. Support this project and Teton County Search and Rescue volunteers by making a donation today at www.tetoncountysar.org/donate. You can also support The Fine Line by sharing this podcast with friends and family, especially if they're heading into the backcountry.
Chuck and Brenda Markham were vacationing with friends when they decided to kayak the Buffalo Fork River. The most experienced kayaker in the group, Steve Fretz, took the lead. What they didn’t know that day was that the river was pushing flood stage, running much faster than usual for July. All the runoff had pushed woody debris into the river creating a maze of strainers and log jams that snagged and stranded some of the boaters. Teton County Search and Rescue volunteers KC Bess and Cody Lockhart rowed to the rescue. This podcast is produced by Backcountry Zero, with support from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole. Backcountry Zero is a project of the Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation.You can support this project and the Teton County Search and Rescue volunteers by making a donation today. Visit www.tetoncountysar.org/donate. If you like listening to The Fine Line, please share us with a friend.
In August of 2017, Will Grenier, his younger sister Cassie and their friend Erin Gibbs were headed up the Middle Teton. They were all experienced hikers. At the time, 24 year old Cassie worked as a recreational therapist and her job involved taking kids with troubled backgrounds into the great outdoors. Going up the Middle Teton was supposed to be a day off, but as they scrambled up a talus slope a massive rock slide cut loose and Cassie was right below it. What should have been a typical day hiking in the park turned into a fight for survival.
Caty Harris loves being outdoors and that's how she wanted to spend her birthday. So she and her boyfriend, BJ Appell rented snowmobiles to explore the trails around Togwotee Pass. Although they followed the map, they took a turn onto an obscure trail that the guides no longer use and soon found themselves stranded and alone in a snowstorm. This podcast is produced by Backcountry Zero, with support from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole. Backcountry Zero is a project of the Teton County Search and Rescue Foundation. You can support this project and the Teton County Search and Rescue volunteers by making a donation today. Visit www.tetoncountysar.org/donate.
When you move to Jackson in your 20’s, you can suddenly find yourself thrust into an extreme playground where the stakes are literally life and death. Accomplished ski racers Jim Ryan and Connor Nolan had the skills to tackle some of Jackson’s burliest lines. Their desire to ski those big lines blinded them to the level of risk they were taking until the day they attempted Gothic Couloir and the Triple Crown. When they had to call for help one of their rescuers, Cody Lockhart, knew just how they felt.
A Jackson resident with a long history of rescuing others suddenly finds himself at the mercy of a community of strangers on Teton Pass in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Once the head of the Himalayan Rescue Association in Nepal, Dr. David Shlim treated all of the survivors of the 1996 Everest expedition detailed in Jon Krakauer’s book, "Into Thin Air." Rebecca Huntington hosts The Fine Line, real stories of adventure, risk and rescue in the backcountry of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This podcast is produced by Backcountry Zero. You can support The Fine Line and Teton County Search and Rescue volunteers by making a donation today. To learn more at www.tetoncountysar.org/donate.
What happens when a hiking blind date turns into a rescue and the person at your side is someone you just met? Grand Teton National Park employee, Millie Jimenez, recalls how she was hiking on her day off with a new friend in the rugged Avalanche Canyon when a slip turned into a life-threatening fall. Although she had just met her hiking companion, Millie already knew most of her rescuers, fellow National Park Service employees worried about saving one of their own. In this episode, Millie recounts the rescue with Matt Wilber, Snake River District Supervisory Ranger, and Chris Bellino, Jenny Lake District Supervisory Ranger and Incident Commander for the October 12, 2015, rescue. backcountryzero.com
On a Sunday in late June in Grand Teton National Park, rescue rangers started fielding multiple calls. The first call came at 5:55 p.m. An exhausted hiker was stuck on a steep snowy slope in Upper Granite Canyon. Just 35 minutes later, another call came in. A 27-year-old climber was seriously injured on Disappointment Peak. Park rangers called in two helicopters and Teton County Search and Rescue to help with yet another call for missing boaters following an accident on the Gros Ventre River. In this episode, we talk with climber Fio Lazarte and Jenny Lake climbing rescue ranger Nick Armitage about the longest and most challenging rescue that day. This podcast is produced by Backcountry Zero, a project of Teton County Search and Rescue. Support Backcountry Zero, a community vision to reduce fatalities in the Tetons, by simply sharing this podcast with friends and family. backcountryzero.com
In this episode, two Jackson Hole boaters recall an epic spring when big water lured them to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. With the traditional boat launch closed, they put in at Marsh Creek, a tributary running fast, cold and choked with woody debris.
An ideal ski day on March 3, 2017, turns into an epic rescue and stunning revival on Maverick Peak in Grand Teton National Park.
Rene Etter-Garrette had been living in Jackson Hole for six winters. He'd found mentors willing to share their backcountry knowledge and skied challenging lines in Grand Teton National Park. On Feb. 4, 2016, Rene and two friends decided to ski the Spoon Couloir on Disappointment Peak. Rene had started to question the risks of backcountry skiing after a close friend had died in avalanche just a few weeks earlier. But on this day, avalanche danger had been rated moderate, and Rene had skied the same line several times before without trouble.
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Podcast Details

Created by
The Fine Line
Podcast Status
Potentially Inactive
Started
Jul 12th, 2016
Latest Episode
May 28th, 2020
Release Period
Monthly
Episodes
31
Avg. Episode Length
34 minutes
Explicit
No

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