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Rescue in Birch Hollow Canyon, August 26 2017

Discussion in 'Accidents and Near Misses' started by hank moon, Aug 28, 2017.

  1. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/ar...who-fell-approximately-100-feet/#.WaOgvuxMHqB
    Rescue crews stay overnight with canyoneering guide who fell approximately 100 feet
    Written by Joseph Witham
    August 27, 2017

    ST. GEORGE — A man was flown to the hospital Saturday morning after falling approximately 100 feet while rappelling in Birch Hollow. The man fell the day before, but by the time crews reached him, it was too late to get him out that day.


    When the incident was first reported Friday afternoon, Kane County Search and Rescue crews were shuttled to the man’s location via Classic Air Medical out of Kanab, Kane County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Alan Alldredge said.

    A series of rappels in Birch Hollow leads into Orderville Canyon east of Zion National Park where the trail eventually leads into the park’s popular Narrows hike.

    The man who fell is a canyoneering guide for Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort and had already led a party down several rappels utilizing a double-rope system attached to permanent wall anchors, allowing the ropes to be pulled down for the next rappel.

    “It sounds like he must have hooked into the wrong rope,” Alldredge said. “So when he went to go over, it wasn’t on the one that was being held, and he more or less fell straight down.”

    “Luckily, there was a pretty good pile of mud at the bottom that he landed in that helped break his fall.”

    Rescue crews were flown to the cliff directly above where the man fell and rappelled down to him.


    The man was administered medical treatment after which crews lifted him up the cliff utilizing a raising system.

    The rescue team planned to hoist the patient out of the canyon from the top of the cliff by helicopter, but by the time they were in position, it was too dark.

    Since the man was in stable condition, Alldredge said, crews opted to stay the night with him until he could be safely flown out in the morning.

    At first light, a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter arrived and hoisted the patient out. He was then flown a short way to an awaiting medical helicopter where he was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George.

    The severity of the man’s injuries was unknown at the time this report was taken.

    This report is based on preliminary information provided by emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.


    http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/ar...who-fell-approximately-100-feet/#.WaOgvuxMHqB

    ###

    Video from Kane County SAR:

    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1680618818678895&id=250555315018593
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
  2. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Whew...that hoist needs a swivel!

    All the best for the injured feller.
  3. ScottM

    ScottM Looking for a canyon, you got one?

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    I'm glad to hear that the individual is relatively okay and didn't sustain any more severe injuries.

    I always love how these articles leave so much up to speculation and conjecture. I guess that is do to the fact that most media outlets want to post first, then obtain the details (or facts) later?

    "The man who fell is a canyoneering guide for Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort and had already led a party down several rappels utilizing a double-rope system attached to permanent wall anchors, allowing the ropes to be pulled down for the next rappel."

    Followed by: “It sounds like he must have hooked into the wrong rope,”
  4. Albula Vulpes

    Albula Vulpes

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    I wonder if the rotor wash can make the litter spin like a propeller?
  5. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Is that an X slot?

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    Glad he is stable, and certainly hope he is OK. Mud sounds much better than a pile of rocks!

    A lot of previous rigging discussions (pro/cons) on various options (i.e. double vs. single strand block) in other threads may be worthwhile to pull up as more facts come out. Pause and review.
  6. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    YES, VERY UNFORTUNATE that all these newspapers don't have a canyoneering expert on staff to go examine the evidence and report with clarity and certainty the cause of accidents.





















    Not.
    Mike Zampino likes this.
  7. deathtointernet

    deathtointernet

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    New show pitch--- CSI: Zion. I'd watch it.

    That said, glad he's still among the living. Seems like this year has seen a lot of big falls that somehow turn out survivable.
  8. Morgan

    Morgan

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    Cant help but wonder if the below reference had anything to do with this accident....

    scottensign
    "I took a group through birch hollow 2 days ago. Between last time I was there (10 days ago) and this time, someone swapped out most of the rapides on anchors with some absolutely gargantuous rapides. I didn't even know they made them so big. The suckers probably weigha pound each....These should work well for lowering heavy equipment I guess. If you go through soon, and are planning on setting biner blocks for single rope rappels, be sure to bring some reasonably sized rapides to swap out these monsters. Fortunately I had enough rope to double strand everything."
  9. Earwig654

    Earwig654

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    I talked to my friends that work at the Ponderosa. They told me that the guide is conscious, acting normal, and in good humor.
    he had a compressed spinal fracture and broken pelvis. I hope he makes a full recovery.

    The guides at the ponderosa usually top belay their guests using two ropes(one rope blocked with a 8 block another rope going through a munter for a top belay). I think thats what the "double-rope system"

    when the guide goes down they undo the munter top belay. They leave in the 8 blocked rope and go down single strand.

    The guide had been guiding through Huntress for a couple month. This was his first trip through birch without another guide.
  10. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    Gravity just does not cut any breaks. I hope this fellow heals quickly and has an uneventful rehab.
    ScottM likes this.
  11. joeb

    joeb middle aged guy who lies around alot

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    Is it common to only have one guide with a group of Noobs?
    Seems like a lot to put on one person with no margin for error should something go wrong.
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Depends on the quality of the guide, their training and their protocols.

    Tom
  13. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    G
    Glad to hear it.

    Just imagine the confusion and momentary trepidation of the clients when the leader goes kaput. "Now what do we do?"
  14. spinesnaper

    spinesnaper

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    There have been a number of accidents on blocked ropes with semi-experienced individuals rappelling on the wrong side of the block. That is a well recognized error. The possible role of a giant rapide as the basis for a block failure is intriguing. Ken
  15. ScottM

    ScottM Looking for a canyon, you got one?

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    Begs the question how the SAR request was initiated? Was a PLB activated, or did some of the clients complete the canyon to go for help.
  16. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    There were most likely several other parties in the canyon.

    T
    ScottM likes this.
  17. Earwig654

    Earwig654

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    The Ponderosa is actually close enough to Birch that their radios still work. The Ponderosa Guides make sure that they always have a radio with them in Birch sometimes 2 for a backup. This isn't so much for safety but when the group finishes Birch the guide radios for a driver to meet them at the Orderville trail so they can have a pick up. I also know that several Ponderosa employees got onsite before search and rescue. I would assume that the guide was coherent enough to radio for help, or a guest found the radio and called for help, or as Tom said another group found help.
    ScottM likes this.
  18. Pictish

    Pictish

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    This seems perfectly plausible to me. I don't get out to the slots half as often as half you guys and in the 2+ years since I was introduced to canyoneering I've encountered 4 rapides that could easily pass a hitched-up BD positron screw-lock. I wasn't equipped to remove one of them and it made me quite nervous about the potential consequences for a theoretical later party to whom it doesn't occur to inspect that aspect of an anchor. Since I haven't heard of any accidents at Mystery Falls since last Labor Day I guess it didn't cause any harm. But I just don't understand how these damn things end up in canyons in the first place. I don't know a whole lot about the climbing world but I would think climbers who dabble in canyons are responsible for the perfectly safe rap rings I occasionally find on webbing anchors, not these giant, heavy links. It's baffling.
  19. redneckdan

    redneckdan Barely Domesticated...

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    Yes, depending on the rigging of the litter. Rotor wash can give it a pretty good spin. Its not fun being the attendant...
  20. BrentV

    BrentV

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    I live at Ponderosa Ranch. I heard this was the guide's first ever solo guide trip. Another former guide for them who still works there in another capacity who I know got there fairly quickly and they set up a tent and cuddled with him all night to keep him warm until the SAR could get there. Like was mentioned before fortunately the radio signal made it back to the ranch from in the canyon. Also one of the members of the tour was a nurse which was of course very helpful.
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