Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park Rescue Of Seriously Injured Climber
Climbing Ranger Brent Mims received a report of an accident on a climbing route graded at 5.10 (very difficult) in SOB Gully around 9 p.m. on the evening of April 19th. A 21-year-old man fromSprings was climbing with three other people when he fell about 30 feet below his belay, taking a total fall of 50 feet. He was unresponsive for about two minutes and had an obvious deformity to his right hand.
The nearly eight-hour-long rescue involved a 150-foot technical climb to reach the summit of a detached pillar, then the 400-foot lowering of a rescuer to the injured climber’s position.
A separate haul system was constructed to traverse the rescuer and injured man along the top of the pillar to a point where they could be lowered into the gully. They were then hauled 600 feet to the canyon rim.
This rescue was the first of the year utilizing a team of dedicated volunteer climbers who are familiar with the Black Canyon and train with the staff. This complex rescue, led by Mims, would have undoubtedly been exceedingly difficult without the support of these volunteers.