A sudden late summer snowstorm killed three mountain climbers and injured two others on 13,766-foot Grand Teton mountain in Grand Teton National Park, a park spokesman said today.
The climbers belonged to two teams, one from Jackson and the other from Seattle, both of which began their assault on the mountain in sunny weather Wednesday.
Park spokesman John Krambrink said the winterlike blizzard struck the top of the Grand Teton on Wednesday evening with winds blowing in excess of 80 m.p.h.
The storm continued through Thursday, when park rangers received a distress call from the climbers.
Because of the high-intensity storm, Krambrink said, a helicopter rescue was not possible. Rescue teams were sent up the mountain on foot Thursday night.
Krambrink said rangers found two climbers alive as they sought shelter in a rock crevice at the 12,000-foot level of the east granite face of the mountain.
He said both people were suffering from hypothermia and were brought down from the mountain and hospitalized today. No immediate word on their condition was available.
The other three climbers were killed by the storm, Krambrink said. Their bodies were retrieved from the mountain today.
Krambrink said that had the rescue team not reached the two surviving climbers Thursday night and been able to render immediate aid, those climbers also would have died.
Krambrink said the names and hometowns of all five climbers will not be released until their families are notified.