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Re: Tricky climber rescue at Upper Cathedral Spire

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Tricky climber rescue at Upper Cathedral Spire
April 22, 2014 05:15PM
From today's Mercury News:

A badly injured Palo Alto rock climber was plucked via helicopter from a craggy and nearly vertical spire in Yosemite National Park after he took a tumble during an outing Sunday, officials said....

Brown said they used the helicopter to drop highly trained park rangers next to the injured man -- a daunting task that involved hovering with the chopper's blades whirling just "10 to 20 feet from the rock."...

full story at: http://www.mercurynews.com/News/ci_25610613/Palo-Alto-climber-hospitalized-after-bold
Re: Tricky climber rescue at Upper Cathedral Spire
April 22, 2014 07:23PM
We saw the helicopter in El Cap meadow as we were leaving the Valley and was wondering what happened.
Re: Tricky climber rescue at Upper Cathedral Spire
April 23, 2014 10:20AM
Hey, Andrea Brown is a friend of mine.

Her husband, Mike, used to be the pilot of that helicopter until he retired.

Great people.
avatar Re: Tricky climber rescue at Upper Cathedral Spire
April 25, 2014 11:29AM
I am not a rock climber, so I am confused by something mentioned in the article: It said that the victim was 15ft above an anchor point, but yet he fell 30ft (he may have fallen further had he not been stopped by the ledge he landed on?)

Is it common to have that much slack in the rope....was he using a rope??



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
Re: Tricky climber rescue at Upper Cathedral Spire
April 25, 2014 12:22PM
I'm not a climber, either, Bee, but my understanding is that when they talk about your distance from an anchor point, you have to factor in that he fell 15 ft from where he left the wall to where the anchor point was but there was still 15 feet of rope between him and the anchor so he had to fall another 15 feet before the anchor stopped him. As far as "he would have fallen farther..." (just going on your quote...I didn't read the whole article), I don't think he would have gone an awful lot further but I do know that climbing ropes are supposed to be fairly elastic (if you fell 30 feet and then were stopped instantly, the rope would do at least as much harm as good). I don't know how elastic the ropes are...they're certainly not bungie cords...but, once he'd fallen far enough for the rope to begin arresting his fall, I don't think he'd have gone more than a few feet further. If he hit the ledge while the rope was still stretching, I have to think that the ledge didn't do him any favors in "shortening" his fall. Again, just my assumption but if he HAD "fallen further" (i.e., to the point where the rope stopped his fall rather than the ledge), he probably would have been much less injured.

I'll count on the climbers on the list to keep me honest but I think that's pretty accurate.
avatar Re: Tricky climber rescue at Upper Cathedral Spire
April 29, 2014 07:54AM
Quote
DavidK42
I'm not a climber, either, Bee, but my understanding is that when they talk about your distance from an anchor point, you have to factor in that he fell 15 ft from where he left the wall to where the anchor point was but there was still 15 feet of rope between him and the anchor so he had to fall another 15 feet before the anchor stopped him. As far as "he would have fallen farther..." (just going on your quote...I didn't read the whole article), I don't think he would have gone an awful lot further but I do know that climbing ropes are supposed to be fairly elastic (if you fell 30 feet and then were stopped instantly, the rope would do at least as much harm as good). I don't know how elastic the ropes are...they're certainly not bungie cords...but, once he'd fallen far enough for the rope to begin arresting his fall, I don't think he'd have gone more than a few feet further.

Last year there was a climber who died of internal injuries after he got arrested by his "equipment rope". Apparently some climbers use nonelastic ropes to bring up their equipment bags. It's supposed to reduce the amount of energy needed to pull up the equipment compared to using an elastic climbing rope (which would bounce a bit). His climbing rope hadn't been secured yet (or slipped) when he fell. His equipment rope was secured though.

I've heard that some climbers opt to use climbing ropes to haul up their equipment, just in case.
avatar Re: Tricky climber rescue at Upper Cathedral Spire
April 25, 2014 12:33PM
There was 15 feet of rope from the anchor to the climber. So when he fell he ended up with the same 15 feet of rope below the anchor. That makes 30 feet.
avatar Re: Tricky climber rescue at Upper Cathedral Spire
April 25, 2014 12:52PM
Okay, thanks guys -- it all makes sense, now. I was thrown by the ledge "stopping" him part of the article, as if he would have kept falling. He probably wished that he had bypassed that ledge!



The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.
avatar Rangers Rescue Injured Climber
April 28, 2014 02:35PM
On the morning of Sunday, April 20th, park dispatch received an emergency call from a member of a group getting ready to climb the Regular Route on Upper Cathedral Spire in Yosemite Valley. The caller reported that the lead climber in a party above them had fallen while leading the route’s second pitch and that he was unable to move and needed medical attention. A Yosemite rescue team, supported by California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter H-40 out of Fresno, was immediately assembled and flown to the location of the injured climber, a 26-year-old man from Palo Alto. Simultaneously, Yosemite climbing ranger Ben Doyle and rescuer Josie Mckee ascended fixed ropes to the injured climber.

Rangers David Pope and Jack Hoeflich were lowered to the injured climber via hoist and provided onsite medical attention. He’d fallen approximately 30 feet, hit a ledge, and sustained injuries to his back. He was hoisted to the CHP helicopter and flown to El Capitan Meadow, where he was transferred to a medical helicopter and then flown to memorial hospital in Modesto. The rangers and uninjured climber rappelled back to the valley floor.

Supervisory Valley Ranger Chris Bellino served as the incident commander for this rescue.
avatar Re: Rangers Rescue Injured Climber
April 29, 2014 03:57PM
A video segment (from KPIX-TV San Francisco) that includes an interview with the climbers and video from the helicopter doing the rescue:

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/video/10082028-bay-area-climber-rescued-from-yosemite-cliff-face/

.
avatar Re: Rangers Rescue Injured Climber
April 29, 2014 06:42PM
Interesting how the news caption has Yosemite fall. I guess that is a different Yosemite Fall(s). Great footage from the helicopter.
avatar Re: Rangers Rescue Injured Climber
April 29, 2014 08:31PM
Quote
yosemitejim
Interesting how the news caption has Yosemite fall.

Because he fell?
avatar Re: Rangers Rescue Injured Climber
April 30, 2014 12:13PM
I meant a different type of Yosemite Fall.
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