Meet members of the epic ’67 Tetons rescue squad

NATIONAL PARKS CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) presents a special film screening of “The Grand Rescue” on Saturday, April 1 at 7 p.m. at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center.

The evening begins with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by a screening of the film, which shares the story of one of the greatest rescues in national park history. After the film, there will be a question and answer forum with two of the original rescuers—mountaineering legend Bob Irvine and Bozeman’s own Rick Reese.

“The Grand Rescue” tells the story of a harrowing three-day rescue in Grand Teton National Park that became the stuff of legend. In 1967, seven climbing rangers responded to a call for help from a stranded climber on the feared North Face of the Grand Teton. Over the course of 72 hours, the rangers risked their lives to conduct a perilous rescue that pushed them to their limits.

After the screening, attendees will have the opportunity to hear firsthand recollections of the rescue from members of the rescue squad. Irvine had climbed in the range since his teens. Known for his precision and attention to detail, one of Irvine’s major contributions to the rescue was his role as de facto “safety warden.” His demonstration of leadership led Irvine to succeed fellow rescuer Pete Sinclair when he left the Tetons at the end of the 1967 season. Irvine remained a leader of the Grand Teton National Park for the next twenty-eight years, after which he went on to have a distinguished career as professor of mathematics at Weber State University in Utah.

Reese was recognized as the team’s strongest climber. It was not only his ability to move quickly over mountain terrain that distinguished him, but also his unflappability when things got serious. His analytical skills were continually employed to solve problems and his cheerfulness reminded the team that the rescue was well within their capabilities. Reese has since devoted his life to conservation and higher education. He taught college in Montana, was the principal founder and first president of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, served as director of the Yellowstone Institute, chaired the Bonneville Shoreline Trail Committee for 20 years. He retired as director of community relations at the University of Utah.

“Fifty years later, ‘The Grand Rescue’ serves as a reminder of the indomitable commitment of national park rangers,” said Stephanie Adams, NPCA’s Yellowstone program manager. “Protecting our national parks requires the dedicated efforts of tens of thousands of Park Service employees, from rangers who protect wildlife to maintenance staff that repair buildings to interpretive staff that greet and educate visitors. The film underscores the need for National Park Service staff to have the resources needed to continue to safeguard not only our treasured national parks, but also the millions of visitors who explore these places each year.”

All proceeds from the screening event will benefit NPCA. Visit npca.org/grandrescue or warrenmillerpac.org for tickets.