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Palo Alto Climber Who Fell 30 Feet in Yosemite Sunday Expected to Survive

Higher Cathedral Spire. Photo credit: GearLoopTopos.
Higher Cathedral Spire. Photo credit: GearLoopTopos.
A 26-year-old rock climber from Palo Alto is expected to survive after falling 30 feet while climbing at Yosemite National Park on Sunday morning, a California Highway Patrol officer said today.

The hiker fell while climbing Higher Cathedral Spire and landed on a rock ledge, according to Andrea Brown, a CHP flight officer and paramedic who assisted in the rescue.

Yosemite Search and Rescue received a call around 10:15 a.m. Sunday reporting an injured male hiker and requested helicopter assistance from CHP Air Operations around 10:45 a.m., Brown said.

Brown, along with pilot Bill Dixon and pilot trainee Chris Barrett, flew into Yosemite Valley, located the victim and scanned the area to make sure they could access the spot. The helicopter then landed in El Capitan Meadow, and the crew stripped out all extra equipment to make it as light as possible, Brown said.

One by one, the helicopter flew two Yosemite technical rescuers to the rock ledge and left them with the climber to treat him on the scene and prepare him for transport.

"I lowered them into the rocks and brush right next to the victim," Brown said.
The Yosemite rescuers are skilled climbers who can perform rescues on vertical rock walls when necessary, Brown said.

The helicopter then returned to the valley floor to wait for the rescuers to treat the victim and put him into a full-body splint to protect his injuries during transit, Brown said.

"They had to secure his spinal column," Brown said. "I believe they gave him some pain medication because he was in a tremendous amount of pain."

The CHP helicopter hoisted the victim into mid-air with a cable attached to a litter, Brown said.

The helicopter brought the victim to the valley floor and transferred him to a private air ambulance. The victim was taken to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto for treatment.

The victim is in serious but stable condition and is awaiting further medical consults, Brown said.

-- Bay City News

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