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|Submitted by Tom Evans on Sat, 10/04/2014 - 16:42|
ElCap Report Special Rescue Edition 10/3/14
By Tom Evans
Yo.. Well, today was to have been a nice climbing day, with a special event that I will have to cover later. I was in the Café doing some images and finishing breakfast when Bud Miller, from YOSAR, told me that there was to be rescue off the Nose at Camp 4 ledge. I quickly packed up my computer and headed to the ElCap Meadow to shoot the proceedings. No rescue vehicles had arrived yet, so I set up and looked through the camera to see what the problem was. What I saw was not good…not good at all. A team that I had been following for a couple of days had had an accident. Simon, a doctor from Wales, had fallen on the pitch above Camp 4 and was lying, seriously injured, on a ledge. His wife, Marian, was tending to his injuries and on the cell phone to the rescue people.
1) The scene of the accident, Camp 4 on the Nose route. Early on I was greatly relieved to see Simon raise his head, so I knew he was still alive. Most of the rest of the time he just laid there.
2) Around 8am the first rescue team members showed up and quickly unloaded equipment.
3) Soon the old reliable chopper, Yosemite Fire #551, was in the landing pattern for the ElCap Meadow.
4) Tim Lyons was at the controls, for this rescue, and he flew the entire mission without incident. Just another day in the left seat for Tim.
5) Soon the complete team was there and was instructed on how the rescue was to proceed. It was to be a short haul of Simon right off the ledge on a 200ft long line hanging from the chopper.
6) Pilot Tim Lyons and his crew chief, Eric Small, waiting for the rescue to start. Tim is an excellent pilot and has done many such rescues and his steady nerve and skill made this rescue possible.
7) Ranger Jack Hoeflick, already a legend in rescue, was the commander on the scene, and would be the first person to fly up to the accident site.
8) Soon Jack was suited up and grabbing the line to the chopper.
9) The chopper took off and was quickly on its way to the site.
10) Dangling on the end of the line, with the chopper close to the wall above, Jack made the perfect toss to Marian, who pulled him into the ledge.
11) Soon Aaron Smith was to follow with the litter and other equipment.
12) In moments Aaron was flying along the face, headed to the ledge.
13) Aaron arrived and soon he and Jack had Simon stabilized and on the litter for the quick flight down to the valley floor.
14) In a few minutes they had rigged the litter and equipment and Aaron was ready to leave with Simon. The chopper came in and the two rangers used an extendable pole to catch the line on the chopper.
15) Soon Aaron and Simon were flying by ElCap's Great Roof, and on the way down to the meadow and a flight to the hospital.
16) As they approached the ground the medical team was ready for the transfer to the medical chopper that had flown in a few minutes before.
17) When they landed, Simon was examined and made ready for the flight to Modesto and the trauma unit at Memorial hospital, and was soon on his way.
18) Jack and Marian were to rappel off and later in the afternoon I spotted them nearing the ground.
I have not heard anything about Simon’s condition since I last saw him but guess he will make a full recovery. EDIT: I got an email from Marian on the 2nd of Nov. from their home in England and she reports that Simon is well on his way to a complete recovery! YEAH!!
So that’s the way it was, and that’s the way it happened. YOSAR once again pulled off a very difficult rescue with excellent results. Many, many more people were involved in this event than I have room to credit here. Be safe my friends.