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Fall on Rock, No Protection, Self-Rescue, California, Yosemite Valley


California, Yosemite Valley

On May 18, according to his partner, Steve Keiser (19) was leading the second pitch of Sentinel Rock, 40 to 50 feet out on “easy” rock, when he fell about 7:30 a.m. Unconscious briefly, he recovered and was able to walk after being lowered and/or rappelling to the ground. Several climbers on nearby routes responded, helping him down the third and fourth class ramps to the talus and then to the trail. At 10:30 a.m. NPS received a report that an injured climber was being evacuated from Sentinel Rock by other climbers. He was thought to have a broken arm and facial injuries and had managed to reach the talus at the base of the approach ramps. Dill left immediately (11 a.m.) for the scene with the reporting party and a medical kit. A litter team followed a few minutes later. Dill contacted the victim about 200 feet above the trail near the stream. He was alert and able to walk to the trail with a belay from his friends and after medical treatment (body check, arm splint) he was carried in the litter to the ambulance and enroute at 12:45 p.m. (Source: Park Ranger Dill, Yosemite National Park)


This situation was caused by a good climber falling and receiving injury that may have been lessened had he placed protection. It is also an excellent example of self-rescue. Instead of immediately calling for help, Keiser chose to have his partner lower him down two pitches and he was able to be helped and belayed by other climbers across the nasty sections of the approach ramps. Keiser was met by the rescue team at the end of the most difficult terrain. He could have easily made it to safety if there was not a rescue group nearby. This is an excellent example of independence from aid by a rescue group. If more climbers acted in this manner, there would be less need for organized rescue groups and government involvement. (Source: Tim J. Setnicka, Yosemite National Park) .