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Fall and Injury in Hades Cyn, Death Valley, April 2017

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by ratagonia, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    http://www.ktvz.com/news/fallen-injured-sisters-fire-captain-rescued-in-death-valley/454189413

    Teaser:

    SISTERS, Ore. - A captain with the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District was injured in a roughly 40-foot fall during a Death Valley "canyoneering" trip with two colleagues last week, prompting a rescue effort that began with his two partners and ended with a California Highway Patrol helicopter rescue, officials said Tuesday.

    Here's a news release from the fire district, outlining their trip, the preparations they took and how they paid off in a time of trouble:

    Three members of the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District (Captain Thornton Brown, Captain Jeff Liming and Fire Medic Matt Millar) embarked on a technical canyoneering descent last week in Hades Canyon in Death Valley. This is said to be perhaps the toughest adventure hike in Death Valley and one which is only for the most experienced and fit canyoneer.

    The trip was the second adventure the three firefighters had taken to the area. Last year they successfully descended Bad Canyon.

    This area in Death Valley is an arid, desert environment with extreme temperature changes ranging from highs in the upper 80s this time of year to lows in the 40s and winds gusting up to 50 mph.

    In preparation for this trip, the group spent time reviewing and practicing rappel, rope and anchor techniques, studied topographical maps and journals of previous group trips on this descent, which included pictorials of the types of anchors you might expect to see. Typical anchors in Hades Canyon are created using streambed boulders.

    Having been to the area last year, the group had some experience in planning and had more than enough rope to rappel, retrieval rope plus extra, enough food and water and appropriate clothing to spend a night in the canyon if needed. The group had also left a note on the dash of the truck at their end point, noting that their intent was to be out of the canyon on Thursday night or Friday morning, as well as informing friends and family when they should expect phone contact indicating they were out of the canyon.

    The hike starts at approximately 5,475 feet in elevation at the parking lot, includes 14 rappels and ends near Bad Water at around 200 feet below sea level. The group started their day in the parking lot around 7:15 a.m. on Thursday, April 13.

    They had covered approximately 3,500 feet in elevation and 4 ½ miles of linear distance when around 3:30 p.m. during the fourth rappel; Captain Thornton Brown lost control of a rappel and suffered an approximate 40-foot fall. He was the first of the three to rappel down.

    Fire Medic Millar and Captain Liming were able to communicate with Captain Brown, asking him what he thought his injuries were and the other two began their descent down to help him.

    After Fire Medic Millar and Captain Liming reached Captain Brown, they did a complete assessment and found that the injuries he sustained would prevent him from hiking out on his own. The group spent time working together to make a decision on whether or not Fire Medic Millar would go out alone to get help or for both Captain Liming and Fire Medic Millar to go out together.

    more at: http://www.ktvz.com/news/fallen-injured-sisters-fire-captain-rescued-in-death-valley/454189413
  2. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Location:
    Mount Carmel, Utah
    A job well done all around. (well, at least from this report).

    Tom
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