Injury on Mt Emerson


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Messages 1 - 17 of total 17 in this topic

Trad climber
Bihop, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 7, 2013 - 01:34pm PT
Yesterday a girl was critically injured on Mt Emerson. We soloed up before them. Does anyone know what happened and how she's doing?

Jul 7, 2013 - 08:07pm PT
We were camping in the meadow below the mountain. We watched the CHP helicopter drop supplies and eventually a rescue climber at around 7:30 PM, afetr making several attempts earlier in the afternoon. We heard an initial scream at around 1:30PM. The climber reached the injured climber by 9:00 PM or so. At 3:30AM today the climber was brought down. We think we heard them walking the climber out to the trailhead, about 1.75 mi from the site, at around 4:15AM. I also would like to know the condition of the climber and if she is OK. We also believe a pair of backpackers also helped significantly by going back to the ranger station and bringing help. We have several videos of the helicopter making landing attempts.

Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 7, 2013 - 11:02pm PT
The woman was injured in a rappelling accident. The timetable posted above is pretty accurate. It was a tough rescue, she was in a pretty awkward spot and loading her up into the backboard and litter was a lot of work, the ledgy nature of the route made for a tough ride down for the litter attendant and the patient.

Climbers in The Sierra should take note of that timetable and realize this person was only one pitch up the route! Be safe up there, rescue in that kind of terrain is neither easy nor quick most of the time, depending on the nature of the injury involved. In this particular incident the CHP helicopter was not able to insert a rescuer near the patient, or access the patient with a winch, due to the steepness of the wall and the wind in the canyon (slowhiker observed the skilled CHP pilot trying his best to make it happen).

For some Inyo SAR members this was the second mission of the day, with a few folks doing 21 hours of non-stop volunteer SAR work.

Big thanks to the California Highway Patrol for the skilled and safe helicopter maneuvering and also to the Inyo County Sheriff's Department for sending two strong deputies up to help with the carryout and organizing many components of the rescue.

can't say too much about the condition of the climber due to privacy issues, but the mission was a success and she did make it to the ambulance early this morning in relatively stable condition.

Sorry for all the racket slowhiker.

Jul 7, 2013 - 11:34pm PT
No worries for the racket - very glad you could save her. Amazing that the rescue climber started after dark and didn't get her down until almost 4:00 AM. He got to her so quickly after he started the climb, all in the dark. Really incredible work and the rescued climber is very lucky to have you guys and the CHP. They tried so many times to position the helicopter closer to the hiker but clearly the winds and the canyons made for very delicate flying. We also calculated that the injured climber was up there for 13 hours before getting down only to begin the hour or two walk back to the trailhead.

Social climber
Jul 8, 2013 - 02:36am PT
hey there say, all...

glad to know this turned out that she was rescued and will pull
through... thanks for sharing and to all the rescue workers, too...

prayers to her and family and loved ones...

Trad climber
Jul 8, 2013 - 08:31am PT
Strong work! Hoping for a quick recovery.

Just to clarify, did the injured person walk out or was she carried out in a litter?

Bad Climber

Jul 8, 2013 - 08:34am PT
All hail SAR! Hope the gal makes a full recovery. Could have been any of us.


Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 8, 2013 - 11:09am PT
She was carried out with a wheeled litter.
noriko nakagawa

Trad climber
eldorado springs co
Jul 8, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
Big thanks to you, Frank, and the rest of Inyo SAR. You are the best.


Trad climber
Bishop, CA
Jul 8, 2013 - 03:51pm PT
I might add that it was 3 members on the rock and 3 at the base. She was about 180' up on route in the crevice. We had a standard rescue lowering line and a belay line setup. The lower was accomplished with the theoretical minimum of personnel. In some ways the lower angle of the SE Face of Emerson made some things easier and other ways it made it lot harder. Only two members and a small amount of gear was helicoptered in to the meadow well below the face, the liter, medical, and lowering gear had to be carried to the base by the other four.

Earlier in the day four members of this crew answered a call and hiked most of the way up Pine Creek Pass. And then they answered this call. The team leader, Franky, deserves a big pat on the back for pulling this one off! And again a special thanks to the Inyo Sheriffs that showed up to help, it made a difference!
big piner

Mountain climber
Big Pine, CA
Jul 9, 2013 - 01:53am PT
Franky makes a very good point about hiking and climbing in the High Sierra -- there is no "helicopter button" you can push for help! Inyo County does not have a helicopter, so when Inyo SAR needs one, they have to beg, borrow (but never steal) one from another agency. Availability of a chopper and pilot are often slim.

What does this mean for you?

If you get injured in the mountains, it will be a long time before you are delivered to a hospital. A REALLY long time.

Fortunately, Inyo SAR is made up of a committed team of experienced climbers, hikers, trail runners, medics and rescue personnel that leave their families and jobs to respond to calls like the one on Emerson. They're a bunch of badasses, really. Even still, it takes a long time to reach an injured person and get them down the mountain safely.

Consider this...the injured female on Emerson was less than 2 miles from a trailhead, one pitch off the deck, and the time between the accident and the hospital was about 16 hours.

Just something to think about the next time you're planning a remote backcountry route beyond your ability.
Bad Climber

Jul 9, 2013 - 08:35am PT
Wow, big piner, that 16 is a sobering number. To be honest, I'm kind of glad it's that way, although I'd feel differently if I were the injured party or close to someone who was. I read about the constant rescue action in Chamonix, climbers going too light, too fast, sounds like a zoo.

All the best to the fallen climber. Be well!


Toyota Tacoma
Jul 10, 2013 - 08:27pm PT
Does anybody (frank?) know how to get ahold of the victim? Just climbed the route today and packed out a rope shoes rock shoes and some clothes. She probably would like those back... Thanks for all the sar work up there, looked kinda grim...
big piner

Mountain climber
Big Pine, CA
Jul 11, 2013 - 11:04pm PT
Nope. We don't really know how to contact the victim, however her climbing partner responded to these posts with a letter of thanks to Inyo SAR. So hopefully the victim or her partner will respond to your inquiry. There is also a chance the gear you found was that of Inyo SAR team members, since we decided to ditch all unnecessary gear to make a hasty retreat off the mountain in order to get the injured climber to advanced medical care ASAP. As is often the case with traumatic brain injuries, time is of the we left two ropes, a full rack, backpacks, sleeping bags and anything we didn't immediately need on the mountain. Two SAR members not involved with the rescue retrieved most of our gear from the base of the mountain the following day, but I'm sure it looked like a garage sale up there. In addition, the victim's altered mental state caused her to chuck a lot of things off the cliff (our gear and hers).

Your best bet is to return the found gear to Inyo County Sheriff's Department. The volunteer SAR members (who pay for all our own stuff) will get their gear back, and we can return what's not ours to the victim.

Thanks for cleaning up, by the way :-)

Trad climber
Jul 11, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
I'm the climbing partner. I had responded to the message above, but didn't know there was still SAR gear up there. I'll be happy to support whatever is easiest to get everyone's gear back, and reimburse the cost of mailing or gas etc. If there is any SAR gear missing, please let me know so I can replace it.

My friend is doing very good considering the circumstances. You'll probably hear from her some time soon.

Thanks again to everyone who helped during the rescue and the aftermath, it is greatly appreciated.

Jul 13, 2013 - 11:32am PT
Thanks to SAR and my climbing partner Valerie for their amazing rescue! I am indebted. I am also so grateful to feel mentally like myself and to have an intact spinal column. I have a lot of broken bones though and this is going to be a long recovery. The staff at the Trauma center in Reno at Renown Hospital is the best, and I am getting incredible support from my sisters Sarah and Maria and mom and boyfriend Roger who have all been here with me- despite all being non-climbers they are loving and supportive and non-judgmental. Thank you to everyone for your love and support. I am one lucky girl.
2 l l

Sport climber
Rancho Verga, CA
Jul 13, 2013 - 01:21pm PT
looking forward to the trip report -
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