Mount Yamnuska climber rescued after suffering 'traumatic injury' on Forbidden Corner

With high winds making a helicopter rescue unsafe and rappelling from the top of Mount Yamnuska too tricky, public-safety specialists reached an injured climber the old-fashioned way on Tuesday — they climbed up to reach him themselves.

Public safety specialists resort to 'Plan C' — climbing up mountain, themselves, to reach injured man

Rescuers with Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section helped an injured climber down from Mount Yamnuska west of Calgary. (Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section/Facebook)

With high winds making a helicopter rescue unsafe and rappelling from the top of Mount Yamnuska too tricky, public-safety specialists reached an injured climber the old-fashioned way on Tuesday — they climbed up to reach him themselves.

The climber was about halfway up Forbidden Corner, a popular climbing route that ascends 310 metres up the iconic mountain's sheer limestone cliff, when he somehow lost his grip.

While still attached to his safety rope, the climber fell about 15 metres and struck the mountain, suffering a compound fracture of his lower right leg, according to an account of the incident from Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section (KCPS).

His climbing partner was uninjured.

The injured man "realized that although his injuries were not life threatening, he had sustained a legit traumatic injury and he needed assistance to get down," according to the incident report.

So, the injured man called for help using a cellphone.

KCPS responded responded along with a pilot and helicopter and, at first, they considered a heli-sling rescue but quickly determined the wind was too strong and there wouldn't be enough clearance between the aircraft's rotors and the rock face.

The injured man was able to rappel partway back down the mountain but needed to be lowered the final 100 metres to the ground. (Kananaskis Country Public Safety Section/Facebook)

Plan B was to send rescuers down to the injured man from the top of the cliff, but the team decided the safest option would be Plan C: climb up to him from below.

While rescuers made their way upward, the injured man was able to rappel partway back down. They met at the top of the fourth pitch of the climbing route, which includes 10 pitches in total.

At the same time, a second rescue team climbed up behind them with additional rescue ropes, a drill and other tools to assist in getting the injured man back down.

They were able to lower him 100 metres to the ground and, from there, the rescue pilot with Alpine Helicopters carried the injured man and a public-safety specialist by sling to a staging area at the base of the mountain, where he was transferred to the care of local paramedics.

"This particular climbing party were highly competent but accidents do sometimes happen," KCPS said in their report.

Mount Yamnuska is located just north of the Trans-Canada Highway, about 85 kilometres west of Calgary.


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