American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Stranded — Leading to Exhaustion and Dehydration, Oregon, Smith Rocks, Monkey Face

  • Accident Reports
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  • Publication Year: 2010


Oregon, Smith Rocks, Monkey Face

On Tuesday, July 14, 2009, Samuel Wilson (18) and his friend (17), both from the state of Washington, called 911 at 6:30 p.m. They had been climbing routes all day at Smith Rock State Park and had become stranded about 100 feet below a popular feature known as Monkey Face and about 250 feet above an access trail.

Their rope had become stuck and they were exhausted and stranded on a ledge. Twenty-seven Members of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit assembled and set up a Command Post. Six members of the SAR Mountain Rescue Unit established a position in an area known as the “Springboard” and lowered a member of their Team to assess the young climbers’ situation on the ledge.

The two climbers were then attached to a rescue rope system and lowered approximately 250 feet to the trail below. The climbers were met at this location and treated at the scene. They were then escorted down the trail and transported by raft across the Crooked River to the SAR Command Post.


Local climbers guiding at Smith Rock State Park suggest that young climbers study traditional self-rescue techniques. The climbers had become exhausted and de-hydrated on a very warm day in the Central Oregon desert. Their chosen route on the rock was in the direct sun. Smith Rock regulars often pick their sport routes of the day with sun or shade in mind. (Source: Robert Speik)

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