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Documentary highlights daring rescue from 1967

By Paul Nelson | Posted - Nov 5th, 2013 @ 7:48am

SALT LAKE CITY — A new documentary is premiering Tuesday which focuses on how a team of rescuers risked their lives to save a man off the side of a very dangerous mountain.

Growing up as the daughter of former Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson, Jenny Wilson heard the stories of her dad and the rest of the Jenny Lake Rescue Rangers back in 1967. For a long time, she dismissed the stories as the exaggerations of her dad and his friends. But one day she found a medal and a personalized letter from former Vice President Hubert Humphrey.

"I tripped across this stuff and I thought, ‘Wow, this really was a big deal. This isn't just my dad and his buddies patting each other on the back.' " she said.

Members of the Jenny Lake crew were all considered talented and experienced climbers. But Wilson said even they would avoid going on the north face of the Grand Teton.

"I tripped across this stuff and I thought, 'Wow, this really was a big deal.'"

"They got the call they dreaded and there was a rescue [needed on the north face of the Grand Teton]. It happened at the worst possible place, really, in no man's land," she said.

Back in 1967, rescue efforts were very different than they are now. In this case, the victim had a severely broken leg and couldn't move. Rescuers weren't sure they would have the resources or the ability to bring the man down the mountain. They knew once they headed down the sheer face of the mountain, they wouldn't be able to go back up.

"They ended up deciding to lower, but in lowering, they had to lower into the unknown," she said.

For starters, they weren't sure they had enough rope to reach the man they needed to rescue. So, they had to drop rocks and measure whether or not they could even reach him. Since they had never gone to that part of the Grand Teton before, they weren't sure if there was going to be a ledge they could use to stabilize themselves.


The documentary "The Grand Rescue" will debutat private screenings Nov. 5. Get moreinformation at

Wilson hopes tohave it on national television sometime in2014.

They were also worried about their victim who was losing blood and in a lot of pain, but they didn't have any medicine to give him. So, they had to have someone throw morphine to them out of a helicopter.

The rescue effort lasted three days.

"This incident really tested them," Wilson said. "It pushed them to new abilities, and in doing so, they have really bonded for life."

Interestingly, the man at the center of the rescue effort seemed to be critical of how he was being brought down the mountain. Wilson said they were able to find him and get his side of the story.

The documentary "The Grand Rescue" will debut at private screenings Nov. 5. Get more information at []( cfm)

Wilson hopes to have it on national television sometime in 2014.

Paul Nelson

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