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|Submitted by Tom Evans on Thu, 05/31/2012 - 15:01|
ElCap Rescue 5/30/12
By Tom Evans
Yo… A typical late spring day here in Yosemite turned into a difficult day for all concerned. I was shooting the lead team, of many teams, on the Nose Route when the lead climber fell from the top of the Pancake Flake pitch. That section of the climb is a thin crack, unlike the rock on the lower part of the pitch. He fell 30ft from near the top of the pitch and hit the small triangular ledge at the base of that section. The report came in about 2pm and a full on rescue was called.
YOSAR members came from all over the Valley and the team quickly swung into action. The Nose is the scene of many rescues in the past and the team knows exactly how to set it up. The injury was reported to be a broken leg and possibly a hip too. Not life threatening injuries, so a direct short haul from the chopper was not required. Those in charge of the rescue opted instead for a lowering action from the rim. Below find some of the many shots I took that fill out what happened for you.
1) Climber leading the pitch just before he fell. Anyone can see that the reason for the fall is that he is wearing such bad colored clothing!
2) The climber was lowered to the belay and placed on their portaledge until the rescuer’s could reach him.
3) A long view of the climbers, showing their difficult location.
4) Chopper H-551, flown by Pilot Tim Lyons, landing in the ElCap Meadow to begin the several flights he would make to the top of El Capitan with rescuer’s and equipment. The winds up high were tricky but Tim’s cool professionalism under pressure got the job done.
5) Pilot Tim Lyons getting a quick briefing on the situation.
6) YOSAR team members arrive on the scene and quickly ready their equipment for the spectacular rescue to ensue.
7) The first load of YOSAR personnel head for the chopper and the flight to the top of ElCap.
8) Chopper on the way to ElCap.
9) Equipment being hauled in nets to the top of the Captain.
10) Rescue crew members Scott Deputy and Ranger Chris Belino. Chris is a veteran of many high angle, high risk, rescues in the past. Scott is relatively new at this task. Both performed brilliantly without the slightest hesitation.
11) The rescuer’s are just about at the injured climber after being lowered some 1,200 ft down the vertical and overhanging face.
12) Scott Deputy pulls the team in tight to begin medical analysis and treatment of the injured climber.
13) The rescuer’s made short work of getting the victim into the litter for the long lowering another 2,000ft to the ground.
14) Ranger Chris Belino and the injured climber ready for the long trip to the ground.
The rescue went off without a hitch and the victim was down on the ground for continued medical treatment. Scott and the victim’s climbing partner were lowered to the ground later that evening.
Another big rescue successfully completed by the masters of the business.
Our congratulations go out, once again, to the hard working, professional, members of Yosemite Search and Rescue.
So that’s the way it went down, on the 30th day of May, 2012.
Tom Evans, signing off from Yosemite National Park.