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Helicopter used to rescue North Cascades climber

Post by Jeff Mayor / The News Tribune on July 26, 2012 at 10:13 am |
July 26, 2012 10:13 am

On July 16, North Cascades National Park officials received notice of a SPOT beacon emergency alert from near the northern Picket Range.

Here is the rest of the news release:

The beacon was registered to a man who had a week-long backcountry permit in the area for a party of two.

Two rangers responded aboard a search and rescue helicopter, contracted from HiLine Helicopters, to investigate. The two climbers with the beacon were quickly found by the helicopter team, but at a location with no landing site nearby. The climbers clearly indicated over and over that they were OK, but seemed to gesture another message, at first difficult to understand.

Gathering more information from the park’s Wilderness Information Center, the SAR rangers eventually found that a party of six had a seriously injured climber in a nearby gully. This location also was not near a possible helicopter landing site. The two rangers and pilot found a staging site in the Access Creek basin and from there were able to insert a ranger into the accident site by helicopter. The ranger and patient were then short-hauled to the staging site.

The patient was a 49-year-old man who had fallen an estimated 1,200 feet across steep snow and rocks down a gully on Luna Peak’s east flank. He suffered a head injury and extremity fractures. A medical helicopter from Airlift NW was brought in to fly him to Harborview Medical Center.

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