Rescuers had to airlift a rock climber out of Yosemite National Park after he suffered major injuries in a 30-foot fall Sunday, authorities said.
A 26-year-old man from Palo Alto, Calif. was climbing with a partner Sunday morning and was about halfway up the Higher Cathedral Spire, one of a series of near-vertical granite pinnacles, according to Officer Andrea Brown of the California Highway Patrol’s Air Operations Division.
He reportedly fell about 30 feet and was unable to move without excruciating pain, Brown said.
CHP flight officers transported two members of the park’s climbing-equipped rescue team to the location, dropping them one at a time from the helicopter to the climber, who was about 500 feet above the valley floor, Brown said.
Despite strong winds in Yosemite Valley, rescuers were able to secure the man in an air splint so he could be hoisted up by helicopter.
Fortunately, Brown said, rescuers were able to avoid lowering him down the craggy slope on foot.
“He was wide awake, he gave me a thumbs up and he was OK,” said Brown, who treated him on the chopper.
When they arrived at El Capitan Meadow, a medivac helicopter was waiting to transport the man to a Modesto hospital.
Brown said this was the second helicopter rescue in Yosemite within a week.
Last Tuesday, CHP pilots had to help evacuate a hiker on Tenaya Creek, just upstream from Mirror Lake, after she hurt her back while hiking in rough terrain.
[For the Record, 3:40 PDT April 21: An earlier version of this post said that the climber was about 1,000 feet above the valley floor. Actually, it was 500 feet.]