Survival Weekly – 6/16/14

Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Colorado Man Dies On Longs Peak

The body of Matthew D. Burklow, 25, of Fort Collins, Colorado was recovered yesterday afternoon, June 12th, from Longs Peak via helicopter.  

Rangers were notified on Tuesday, June 10th, that Burklow was overdue from the Longs Peak area. He had left Fort Collins at approximately 2 am on Monday morning and was expected at work that day by 4 pm.  After learning that he likely planned to travel along the Keyhole Route, rangers initiated a search in that area. 

Rangers located Burklow’s body that afternoon approximately 1,000 feet below the Keyhole Route down the Trough. Weather conditions prevented immediate recovery efforts.

Yesterday Burklow’s body was flown to the helipad at Upper Beaver Meadows in Rocky Mountain National Park and was transferred to the Boulder County Coroner’s Office.  

Yellowstone National Park (ID,MT,WY)
Yellowstone Visitor Killed By Falling Tree

A 36-year old man from Taiwan was killed by a falling tree on Monday afternoon June 9th. He was part of a small family group hiking the Fairy Falls trail, which is north of the Old Faithful area.  

The man had left the trail and ascended a nearby tree-covered slope in an apparent attempt to get a better view of Grand Prismatic Spring, when a lodgepole pine tree fell and struck him in the head. Visitors who witnessed the incident made their way back to the trailhead, about a half mile from the accident. They encountered two park maintenance employees working in the area, who relayed the information to Yellowstone law enforcement rangers via radio.

Rangers/Paramedics immediately responded and found that the man had sustained a serious head wound and that he was bleeding profusely.  A life flight was ordered up and was en route while rangers provided ALS interventions, placed the man into a wheeled litter, then moved him to the life flight landing zone.  Just as the helicopter landed, his condition deteriorated, and attempts to revive him failed.  He was declared dead at the scene.

Rangers and a NPS Coroner are continuing to investigate. Responders reported windy weather conditions in the area at the time. The fallen tree had been a standing, dead lodgepole, fire-killed during the park’s 1988 fires. Ranger/Paramedic Dennis Lojko was the incident commander.

Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Member Of Rafting Trip Dies On River

On the evening of Wednesday, June 3rd, park dispatch received a satellite phone call reporting that a 54-year-old woman on a river trip was slipping in and out of conscious, apparently due to an allergic reaction. She eventually became unconscious, and members of the group began administering CPR.

Arizona Department of Public Safety personnel responded by helicopter and provided life support, but efforts to revive the woman proved unsuccessful.

The group was on the fifth day of a seven-day commercial river trip. An investigation into the incident is being conducted by the National Park Service and the Coconino County medical examiner.

Yosemite National Park (CA)
Climber Knocked Unconscious On El Capitan Climb – “Manimal” to the rescue

On Friday afternoon, May 30th, the Yosemite Emergency Communications Center received a call from a climber on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.  The caller reported that he saw a climber fall who was near them on the same route and then heard calls for help. 

The caller was connected with Supervisory Park Ranger Chris Bellino.  Bellino asked the climbing party to ascend to the spot where help was requested, in order to assess the situation and determine whether a rescue was necessary.  Upon their arrival, Ranger Bellino was able to talk with the injured man’s partner. 

The injured climber, a 60-year-old man from New York, was approximately 1,500 feet up on El Capitan on The Nose, when he was attempting to execute a pendulum on a feature known as the King Swing.  However, the attempt was made above the location where the pendulum typically occurs.  Due to this, the climber overshot the swing and hit his head on a granite feature on the route.  The man hit his head hard enough that he lost consciousness shortly after the impact.  His partner was able to lower him to a feature known as Texas Flake, approximately 200 feet below the point of impact. 

A rescue operation was launched based on this assessment, and the park’s contract helicopter was dispatched to Yosemite Valley. Yosemite District Ranger Jack Hoeflich and Yosemite National Park Ranger Aaron Smith were immediately flown via short-haul near the location of the injured climber.  In order to successfully insert the rescuers onto the wall, Hoeflich threw a rope to the reporting party so they could pull him into the wall and secure himself on the ledge.  Shortly thereafter, Smith was inserted into the same location. 

Immediately upon arrival Hoeflich and Smith provided medical attention to the injured climber.  Due to the lateness in the evening, the park helicopter flew a team of eight search and rescue personnel to the top of El Capitan to assist with the rescue, as it was becoming too dark to fly.  Rangers determined the patient to be stable enough to spend the night on the ledge, with continued extrication the following morning.  The patient, along with his climbing partner, were secured onsite and spent the night 1,500 feet up from the Valley floor on El Capitan with rangers Hoeflich and Smith.  

The next morning, Saturday, May 31st, Yosemite Park Ranger Ed Visnovske was lowered from the summit of El Capitan to the climbers’ location, approximately 1,500 feet from the summit.  The injured man, his partner, and their gear were then packaged and lowered another 1,500 feet with Visnovske to Yosemite Valley.  The injured climber was provided additional medical care and transported to a local hospital where he was found to have a fracture in his c-spine.

Rangers Hoeflich and Smith successfully rappelled to Yosemite Valley with the rest of the climbing party’s gear.

Yosemite Supervisory Park Ranger Chris Bellino served as the Incident Commander for this rescue.

Missing hikers rescued

Search for missing hiker –

Kayaker blown out to sea –

Lost siblings found –

Injured hiker rescued –

Lost Hiker found –

Climber rescued by helicopter at night –

Injured racer rescued –

Rafters rescued after overnight stay –

Boy Scouts rescued in Boundary Waters–Boundary-Waters-Rescue

Boy rescued after fall –

Missing 9 year old found –

Missing kayaker –

Rafter missing

Another missing rafter –

Injured hiker rescued



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