We just received sad news that alpinist and randonnee racer Heather Paul died this past Friday (July 1) in a climbing accident in the Tetons. She was descending Cloudveil Dome with her friend Susie Schenk. Heather was an active backcountry skier and the North American skimo racing overall winner in 2003. (Note that another well known backcountry skier is known by the same name. The other Heather is known for her telemark skiing, and was not involved in this accident.) We offer heartfelt condolences to Heather’s family and friends.
Park Service Press Release:
Climber Takes Fatal Fall on East Ridge of Cloudveil Dome in Grand Teton National Park
Heather L. Paul, age 34, of Jackson, Wyoming, died Friday afternoon, July 1, after taking a fall while climbing a 12,026-foot peak called Cloudveil Dome in Grand Teton National Park. Paul and climbing partner, Susie Schenk, age 38, also of Jackson, were descending the east ridge of Cloudveil Dome when Paul fell about 300 feet, landing at an elevation of 10,900 feet on the north face of the peak. Paul and Schenk were down-climbing off the east ridge when the accident occurred. Paul died from traumatic injuries sustained in the fall.
After receiving an emergency cell phone call from Schenk at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, park rangers immediately began coordinating a search and rescue operation. Two rangers flew aboard the Teton interagency contract helicopter to conduct a reconnaissance flight and locate both the fallen climber, Paul, and her partner, Schenk, who remained on a rock ledge above her friend.
Two park rangers, who were on a routine backcountry patrol in the meadows area of Garnet Canyon, quickly made their way to Schenk’s location. The rangers reached Schenk at approximately 4:50 p.m. and assisted her in climbing down the remainder of the route to reach an area in the South Fork of Garnet Canyon where she could then be flown out of the canyon by helicopter.
Another group of four rangers were flown to the South Fork of Garnet Canyon. They climbed to Paul’s location and using the helicopter, flew her to Lupine Meadows where the Teton County coroner was waiting to transport her to Jackson.
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.