Rescuers fly to same spot twice in 24 hours for climbing accidents

First day’s incident required two helicopters

A Classic Air Medical helicopter takes off Nov. 14, carrying first responders away from a climbing area where two climbers were injured on consecutive days last week. Photo by Grand County Search and Rescue

In separate incidents on consecutive days last week, first responders made air rescues for two climbers who sustained injuries while climbing in the same area near Professor Valley, both requiring a helicopter for extraction.

Grand County Search and Rescue, aided by a helicopter from Classic Air Medical, flew out to the climbing area known as Sister Superior, which is between Ida Gulch and Professor Valley, for the first incident on Nov. 14. Intermountain Life Flight provided a helicopter assist in response to the incident, as well.

The patient, having sustained serious head and spinal injuries, required the additional helicopter so that they could be hoisted off the ledge. The second patient the next day was able to walk away from the incident and onto the Classic Air helicopter parked near the climbing area to be taken to safety.

According to Grand County Search and Rescue, both subjects were on a narrow ridge at the base of the sandstone wall on the south side of Sister Superior. The spot is at the top of a 1,500-foot slope of loose rock that leads down to Ida Gulch on one side and Professor Valley on the other.

Grand County EMS said in a Facebook post Sunday, a few days after the incidents, that its personnel were staying busy despite November typically providing a lull in incidents. First responders said that call volumes for medical crews were up 11 percent year-to-date.