updated 7/22/2010 7:01:34 PM ET 2010-07-22T23:01:34

Rescue workers have recovered the body of a climber who fell from a cliff when a thunderstorm struck his climbing party on an exposed mountainside in Grand Teton National Park

Park officials say searchers in a helicopter found the body of 21-year-old Brandon Oldenkamp, of Sanborn, Iowa, Thursday morning and were able to remove his body by the afternoon.

Oldenkamp was climbing with six other people when he fell about 2,000 feet during the midday storm on Wednesday. Authorities don't know whether he died from a lightning strike or the fall.

Teams Wednesday used helicopters to rescue 16 injured climbers in three separate groups from elevations above 13,000 feet on Grand Teton mountain.

Park officials say the 16 suffered moderate to severe lightning-related injuries.

During Wednesday's rescue, helicopters took the 16 climbers first to a temporary shelter on a mountain saddle at 11,600 feet and then down to an operations base on the valley floor and waiting ambulances, park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said.

The surviving climbers' identities and hometowns weren't available, Skaggs said. Their injuries were the result of being struck by lightning — either directly or indirectly — and included burns and neurological effects such as numbness.

Nine climbers were taken to St. John's Medical Center in Jackson, said hospital spokeswoman Karen Connelly.

The hospital discharged three of the patients and transported a fourth to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center for treatment of potentially serious injuries.

Connelly said some of the rescued climbers had declined to go to the hospital.

Skaggs said one of the groups was only 100 feet below the summit of Grand Teton mountain when the storm struck. Another was 400 feet down and the third about 570 feet down, she said.

In 2003, a climber died from a lightning strike on the Grand Teton.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Rescuers scramble to rescue Wyoming hikers

  1. Closed captioning of: Rescuers scramble to rescue Wyoming hikers

    >> news this morning there's a dramatic rescue operation still under way this morning in wyoming's grand teton national park . last night park rangers and a helicopter team removed 16 injured climbers from a mountainside after lightning struck the area. one climber was still missing, rescuers said that all of the victims suffered injuries related to the lightning strike, including burns and trauma. we've got now on the telephone a public affairs officer for grand teton national park . jackie , good morning. what can you tell us about how hopeful the rescuers might be about finding the climber who is still missing?

    >> good morning, ann. we are hopeful, but given the darkness, and the long hours overnight that this person was out on the mountain, we are uncertain as to his condition this morning. at first light, which will be about 6:30 our time, it's now just about 5:15, we'll start looking for this individual again. we have rangers who spent the night on the mountain at a rescue hut on the lower saddle at the 11,600 foot elevation. they will begin a ground search. we'll also get a ship in the air to start doing an aerial search for this person when we have enough light this morning. we are always hopeful that we will find someone who's been able to survive the night. but, we are uncertain what happened to him. he went out of sight of his climbing party yesterday during the crux of the storm he went over a cliff. so we are uncertain as to his condition this morning.

    >> and what can you tell us about the condition, jackie , that he might have been in overnight, as people were not able to look because of darkness? was it cold? what kind of conditions would he have had to face?

    >> yes, i know the rest of the country is hot, but here in grand teton national park , and especially up on the teton range , overnight temperatures generally dip into the 30s. so it was likely mid 30s, maybe upper 30s, last night on the mountain. it's a sheer mountain and some of you may know that it's a very impressive mountain. the grand teton has sheer walls. it's exposed territory. it's rugged territory. the fact that he went over a cliff or a rock, described by his climbing party, tells us that he might have taken a fall. we don't know how far he might have fallen, and so once again, his condition is unknown, and it's unfortunate, but with the darkness last night, one of the things we always considered is the safety of our rescuers. we wanted to get as many people off the mountain as we could, but keep our rescuers safe.

    >> okay.

    >> therefore we had to suspend operations with darkness last night.

    >> all right. jackie skaggs, thank you so much this morning for giving us this information on this developing story. thank


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