In August of 2013, Phil White and his two hiking buddies were attempting an ascent of the Middle Teton in Wyoming’s Grant Teton National Park. Midway through their hike, a rockslide let loose from the cliffs above them, sending car-size boulders raining down on the three men. Rocks buried White, who became pinned and gravely injured miles away from help.
In this episode of Out Alive, hear Phil and his friends recount the accident, and learn how you can stay aware and safe when traveling in rockslide-prone terrain.
Just for members: Check out pictures and videos from Phil’s trip while you listen. All photos courtesy of David Williamson and Phil White.
A beautiful day
The crew started off hiking in high spirits. Here, Phil White hikes in the Tetons prior to the rockslide.
The dust settles
Phil, Kevin, and David dove for cover as rocks began to cascade over them. When the chaos stopped, an eerie silence hung all around them.
Phil was covered completely with giant boulders. His friends scrambled to haul them off of his broken body.
A rescue ensues
A park service helicopter flies in to lift Phil to safety.
A helicopter evacuates Phil on the end of a short haul
The adventure continues
Phil, Kevin, and David in Grand Teton National Park prior to the accident. The three friends continue to adventure together in the wake of Phil’s recovery.
The video below shows rocks tumbling down the mountainside near the hikers. At the end of the clip, “the big rock rolls over right where Phil is holed up,” Williamson said. “That rock is the size of a large dump truck!”