Tragedy befell a small group of climbers in Grand Teton National Park when a Sunday summit ended in the death of 27-year-old Justin Beldin. The young climber who originally hailed from Benicia, CA, was currently residing in Victor, Idaho and worked in nearby Jackson, Wyoming.
According to the National Park Service, Beldin and his two climbing partners successfully summited 12,804 ft. peak of the Middle Teton. They began to make their descent around noon when Justin suffered a fatal fall of 1,000 feet.
Park officials detailed that a second group of climbers near the summit were the ones who actually witnessed the fall. They notified Beldin’s climbing partners, and subsequently alerted park rangers at 12:09 pm — a helicopter was dispatched to the scene soon after. From the air, Park Rangers observed the climber’s body to be completely motionless, and quickly determined that their mission was that of recovery and not rescue. Due to fierce thunderstorms and heavy rainfall that afternoon, the rangers opted to return to base and pursue recovery efforts the following morning. On Monday, crews were forced to first wait out a dense fog before sending the helicopter back up and inserting rangers to recover the deceased climber. They were able to deliver the body to the Teton County coroner at 2:00 pm on Monday.
Beldin’s death marks the fourth fatality this year in Grand Teton National Park.
Our deepest condolences go out to his friends and family.