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Boater Dies on Gros Ventre River Outside Jackson Hole

According to Teton County Search and Rescue, a boater was involved in a whitewater accident on the Gros Ventre River outside Jackson on Tuesday June 21 and tragically did not survive. An emergency call came in Tuesday afternoon that reported a pair of two-person catarafts launched onto the whitewater stretch just below Slide Lake. One craft flipped in the Hermit rapid, dumping both passengers, one of whom was swept downstream. TCSAR responded on foot and in boats, with GTNP Rangers dispatching a helicopter to assist, along with a number of recreationalists already on scene.

TCSAR reports:

The man was reportedly last seen near a large boulder about a quarter mile upriver from the park boundary at a sharp bend known as Jumping Rock. SAR volunteers probed the area but were unable to locate the missing person. Shortly after, a spotter at Jumping Rock saw the man floating downriver. He was unresponsive.

The helicopter was able to follow the man as he floated downriver and eventually became hung up on a log jam about a mile downriver from Jumping Rock. TCSAR volunteers managed to reach the man and bring him to shore. Tragically, he did not survive. His party was visiting from out of state and had been well equipped, prepared and experienced. The man was wearing a personal flotation device (PFD).

This three-mile stretch of whitewater in question is categorized as Class IV and is the most demanding, accessible whitewater stretch in Teton County. On Tuesday, it was flowing above average at about 2,000 cfs, or 2.5 feet. Local boaters characterize the current level as the low side of medium, but the stretch is very fast with few eddies. The numerous rapids were formed by the Gros Ventre Slide from 1925 and ensuing flood, which created sharp, angular rocks that make any swim especially hazardous.

About The Author

stash member Max Ritter

I manage digital content here at TGR, run our gear testing program, and am stoked to be living the dream in the Tetons.

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