Survival Weekly 5/25/14 – Manimal to the Rescue


A good friend of mine, Aaron “Manimal” Smith, is featured on the morning report for one of his many climbing rescues

Yosemite National Park (CA)
Injured Climber Rescued From El Capitan

Park dispatch received an emergency call from a climber in a party on the Salathe Route on El Capitan around 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 10th. 

The climber, who was approximately 1,000 feet up on the route, reported that he was down-climbing when he pulled a large rock from the wall that was approximately the size of a small refrigerator and that it fell from his location and struck another climber approximately 200 feet below him on the same route. 

That climber, a 45-year-old Australian man, sustained injuries to his lower extremities and was unable to move.  The lead climber from the other party who pulled the block loose sustained minor injuries to his ankle.

Rangers David Pope and Aaron Smith arrived on scene via fixed ropes on the route about two hours later. The injured climber, located on a feature known as the Heart Ledges, received medical attention, was packaged in a litter, and was lowered to Yosemite Valley with Pope as the litter attendant. Smith, along with Cheyne Lempe, Everett Phillips, and Bud Miller from Yosemite SAR, then assisted the victim’s climbing partner to Yosemite Valley via rappel.    

Once on the ground, the injured climber was transported via ground ambulance to a local hospital for medical treatment.  The victim’s partner sustained no injuries during the incident.  The climber who pulled the rock loose was able to self-extricate.

Supervisory Valley Ranger Chris Bellino served as the incident commander for this rescue.

Crater Lake National Park (OR)
Search For Missing Snowshoer Scaled Back

On the morning of Wednesday, April 30th, park dispatch received a report that a visitor who’d rented snowshoes from the park concessioner two days previously had failed to return from a hike in the park to take pictures.

Rangers immediately began a search of the Rim Village area and located his vehicle.  Rangers, other park staff and volunteer ski patrol members searched trails leading from Rim Village for any sign of him. A life flight helicopter flew the caldera rim below the village, but could only search briefly due to high winds in the area.  The helicopter also flew the road around the lake, but there was no sign of the missing hiker. 

Rangers contacted all other persons who had rented snowshoes during the time period between that Monday and Wednesday.  Following a lead from one of them, rangers located a personal item belonging to the hiker that had been turned in as lost and found. 

Search teams then responded to an area along the Garfield Peak Trail where the item had been found and came upon a single set of snowshoe tracks leading from the trail onto a snow cornice that had collapsed. Extensive search efforts were conducted in that area over subsequent days by ground and air, but no signs of the man were found. The broken snow cornice extended out over a near vertical 1100 foot section of the caldera wall.  A fall from that location would likely not be survivable. 

The search was subsequently scaled back, but is ongoing as weather and snow conditions permit.  Investigation of the lakeshore by boat will occur in the coming weeks once access is possible and conditions are safe.

Warm, sunny weather the day the hiker went missing followed several days of substantial snowfall at the park and likely contributed to the type of unstable snow conditions that lead to the cornices collapsing.  Snow cornices pose a serious hazard. Cornices are formed when snow is blown over sharp terrain such as the rim of Crater Lake.  The snow forms an overhang with no solid ground beneath it for support.  Snow cornices are a regular occurrence in the park this time of year and can collapse without warning.  Visitors are warned to use extreme caution and stay away from the edge of the rim at all times.

Ranger Jordan Neumann is the incident commander. 

As the weather warms up, more people hit the water. Don’t leave the lifejackets behind..

Missing canoeist –

More missing canoers rescued –

Another search for a missing canoeist –


Missing paraglider located by pinging his cellphone –

Lost ginseng poachers get rescued, then convicted –

Lost hikers rescued –

Ankle injury prompts rescue –

Missing hiker rescued –


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