Climber crab-walks to safety after injuring hip

Grand County Search and Rescue, alongside other first responders, help an injured climber reach the road after he injured his hip on a climb at Big Bend Towers. Photo courtesy of Grand County Search and Rescue

First responders assisted an injured rock climber who hurt his hip after swinging into the rock face about 300 feet up a climb on Big Bend Towers.

The climber called 911 while still hanging 300 feet up the wall, and Classic Air Medical responded with a helicopter. Grand County Search and Rescue officials said that the helicopter could not find a safe place to land, so first responders requested the Department of Public Safety to send a helicopter equipped with a hoist from Salt Lake City. In the end, neither was needed.

The injured climber was able to rappel to the base of the climbing route, where medical and rescue personnel met him. He refused a stretcher and opted instead to crab-crawl down the talus slope, assisted by Grand County EMS and Search and Rescue members, and the second helicopter was cancelled.

Upon reaching the road, the patient’s friend transported him to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Grand County Search and Rescue officials said that, besides the two helicopters and EMS members who responded to the incident, a Canyonlands National Park ranger and three Grand County Sheriff’s deputies responded.