SAFETY

Rescuers and helicopter pilots having a busy year saving climbers

Jun 29, 2018, 7:17 PM
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LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON – Dramatic video of a dangerous rescue in Little Cottonwood Canyon has been released.  Public Safety officials say this rescue is just one of many they’ve had to do this year.

Investigators say the man fell roughly 30 feet after his cam slipped and his anchor broke while he was climbing at Coalpit Gulch.  The fall caused him to swing violently against the side of the mountain.

Utah Highway Patrol Sergeant Wyatt Weber says, “He had, probably, a three-inch diameter contusion into his helmet.  It actually caved the helmet in.”

Weber was the man who was lowered from a DPS helicopter.  Once he got closer to the fallen climber, he could instantly see the injuries were serious.

“We located the climber pretty quickly.  A couple of climbers climbed down to him.  We saw that he was hanging upside down from his rope system.  We saw there were at least some injuries, based on the blood on the rocks,” Weber says.

The climber was worried his spine was broken, claiming he couldn’t feel his legs.  Weber says they knew time was working against them.

“With the block on the rocks, and [him] upside down, we wanted to get him out of there, especially with an injury like that,” Weber says.

The climber was secured to the ropes from the helicopter, then flown to a Life Flight medical chopper, which rushed him to the hospital.  The climber told rescuers he was getting sensation back to his legs before he was airlifted.

Weber says he’s only done a few of this specific type of extraction this year, however, “Other hoist operations… I think we’re at around 40 this year,” he says.

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