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Another Rescue

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avatar Another Rescue
June 06, 2002 10:21AM
<HTML>Climbing Rescue

Just before dusk on June 2nd, Yosemite Valley rangers received a report of a significant rock fall and subsequent shouts for help coming from the Direct North Buttress route on Middle Cathedral. Using a spotting scope and a PA system, rangers were able to determine that 33-year-old John Kurth of Durango, Colorado had been caught in the rock fall and that he was suffering from neck pain and a possible shoulder dislocation and fractured elbow. Due to the loose rock in the area and the difficult position of the climbing party at the base of a long chimney, it was decided that it would be safest to wait until morning to begin the rescue effort. Kurth's climbing partner held his arm in traction throughout the night as they bivvied on a sloping ledge without overnight gear about 1700 feet above the Valley floor. The following morning, rangers John Dill, Dave Horne, Greg Lawler and Ed Visnovske and fire helitack personnel Dan Gleason and Shawn Walters rappelled from the park helicopter to a spire about 300 feet above the injured climber. Horne was then lowered to Kurth. Working in a tight area with an abundance of loose rocks, the rescue team raised Horne and Kurth to the top of the spire. From there, Horne and Kurth were short-hauled under the park helicopter to El Capitan Meadow near the base of the wall. Kurth was taken by park ambulance to the Yosemite Medical Clinic, then flown by air ambulance to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. After the victim was evacuated, the remaining rescuers and Kurth's partner were all short-hauled to the meadow. In the aftermath of the recent climbing incidents on Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood, media interest was extremely high. The park's Media Relations Office conducted over 30 press interviews, and the Sacramento ABC affiliate station's helicopter filmed the short haul. The news footage was shown on ABC stations and on Good Morning America as "The Picture of the Day." Kurth and his partner, Casey Shaw, have about 37 years of climbing experience between them. According to Shaw, Kurth's climbing helmet saved his life. [Todd Bruno, IC/PR, YOSE, 6/4]</HTML>
Re: Another Rescue
August 15, 2002 01:46PM
<HTML>Is this the same route that climbers Tom Dunwiddie and Monika Eldridge died climbing in July 2001? Is this a particularly safe/dangerous route- i.e. is it prone to rock falls or set pin failures, or is this just the expected number of injuries and deaths in an inherently dangerous sport?</HTML>
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