GRAND LAKE — In addition to support of the fire on June 14, air operations from the Big Meadows Fire provided a helicopter to assist a search and rescue operation to transport an injured climber in Rocky Mountain National Park.
A 36-year-old climber from Golden fell about 40 feet on Sundance Buttress, a popular climbing feature in the Lumpy Ridge area on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. At the time of the fall he was approximately 350 feet up the route. He suffered numerous injuries.
Park rangers were assisted in this rescue by an individual working as a guide for the Colorado Mountain School. The guide, who was with a separate party at the time, witnessed the fall. He came to the man’s aid and was able to lower him to the base of the route. Park rangers utilized the Grand Canyon Helitak Crew, from the Big Meadows Fire, to conduct a short-haul rescue of the man. A short-haul rescue is a specialized rescue technique in which a 150 foot rope is attached to the bottom of a helicopter. The end of the rope is attached to a rescuer. It allows the rescuers to be inserted in to difficult terrain quickly.
The patient was placed in a “Bauman Bag” with an attendant on the end of the rope. They were both flown to a nearby meadow. The man was then taken by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center.