ElCap Report 10/20/18 Speical rescue edition.

ElCap Report 10/20/18

By Tom Evans

Yo.. Very busy here due to the splendid weather so I am a little late getting caught up on reports.. sorry about that.  This is a short report on a recent helicopter involved rescue off he East Buttress of Middle Cathedral rock.  That same day there was a similar rescue off of the climb Super Slide.  Earlier the YOSAR ground team did an all-nighter off the death slabs below the NW Face of Half Dome.  So, the rescue teams here have been busy and fortunately we have had no really serious injuries thus far this season.

Today’s ElCap Report..written just for you..unique in all the world!

1)  I was doing my morning shooting in the meadow, when I noticed a YOSAR vehicle drive up and park in the line-up.  I know what that means and sure enough, moments later, old #551 was in the landing pattern to the EC Meadow.  I am not sure of the names of the pilot or crew as this rescue was a really fast one and I didn’t have a chance to talk to anyone involved about it.






























2)  Typically, as in this case, the chopper flies up to the scene of the incident to check out the wind and various clearances required for safety.































3)  The chopper then returns to the meadow and a final plan is devised to fit the situation.  Here the chopper is coming back to the meadow.






























4)  The plan was finalized and fortunately YOSAR had gotten word earlier of the mishap and had sent a small ground team up the cliff to the injured woman, who I learned had a badly broken leg.  In this shot, the chopper is flying up with the rest of the kit required to stabilize her situation. 





























5)  The chopper returned to the meadow to await word, from the scene, that the woman was ready to fly out.  The chopper crew got to stretch their legs and make final plans.  Here we see a couple of the crew talking things over.






























6)  Of course, any activity like this draws tourists who soon gather to see what is going on.



























7)  After a time, the chopper flew out of the meadow.  Anywhere they go a spotter is needed to help the pilot as a second set of eyes and ears.  So, the spotter hangs out the door to check various clearances and inform the pilot of changing positions.




























8)  At the scene of the incident, ranger Montoya had the woman’s leg splinted and ready to go.





























9)  Soon the chopper arrived and Montoya and the woman were attached to the 200-foot line below the aircraft and off they went.  It must be a really cool ride, but not when you are injured!






























10)  After clearing local obstacles, the flight back started.







11)  We could hear the chopper coming and I got this shot of it high over head as it came in for landing.








12)  Soon they came into the landing pattern, and dropped into the meadow.






























13)  On the ground more of the crew tended to her for a few moments before taking her out of the meadow.































14)  She was quickly loaded into the waiting ambulance and taken off for medical attention.  The rescue team dismantled things and were soon gone off to another incident.






























15)  Old #551 departed for its base to refuel and prepare for anything that might come their way in future situations.





























To the causal observer, these rescues look simple and effortless.  Those of us in the know can tell you that these things only happen after countless hours of preparation and training.  The skill of these teams is nothing short of remarkable.  Their willingness to risk their own lives to save others is a testament to their personal dedication and courage.  In the eyes of climbers and the many others who they save they are truly heroes!

Capt. Tom on the scene.