19-Year Old Granite Peak Climber in Critical Condition

Thomas Craig Pfeifle, 19, of Rapid City, was airlifted near the summit of Granite Peak on Monday, August 8, following an accident and is in critical condition after being moved to Seattle.

He was rescued at 12,200 feet of the 12,808 mountain by Gallatin County high-angle rescue team and flown by Rocky Mountain Rotors after his climbers borrowed a satellite phone from another group.  He was flown to  Sky Top Lakes then another hospital in Bozeman and ultimately to Billings before being moved again to Seattle.

KRTV has video and adds a note about a second helicopter rescue at about the same time:

As this team was responding, rescuers received an update that the first call for help was a separate incident.

A 71-year-old man with a suspected cardiac event was taken from Sky Top Lakes to Cook City. The rescue crew was met by an ambulance to take the man to the hospital.

The Deputy-Medic then responded back to the Granite Peak area by helicopter to tie in with the high angle rescue team.

The patient from the first SAR mission was taken by ground ambulance to a hospital in Cody, Wyoming.

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One Response to 19-Year Old Granite Peak Climber in Critical Condition

  1. George Crain says:

    My son-in-law and I summitted Monday, 8/8. It was brutal (but I’m old and could be in better shape).
    The directions and others provided on different pages were extraordinarily helpful. We were there just when the 19-year-old South Dakota climber tumbled 20-40′ and had to be airlifted out. (That was a horrible site.)
    There are two sets of ropes that have been placed by some unknown, altruistic person. The second set helps you over a very slick, though small ice-field (probably 40 feet). I, personally, was very, very grateful for these ropes to help me up and down the Ramp!!!
    A couple of the slings on the 2nd set of ropes are frayed. One of them is frayed badly.
    I spoke to the Beartooth Ranger District and they said there was nothing they could do about it. They did not know who set the ropes, either. However, they emphasized that a person should never fully rely on safety devices set by someone else.
    If you know ropes and knots – and you’re going up there – it would be nice to take a couple of slings and re-set them. They are very inexpensive and could really save someone from (another) terrible accident.
    It is an extraordinary summit experience, otherwise.


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