A complex rescue operation spanning several hours freed a rock climber who was stuck on a rock wall in the Indian Creek area of Bears Ears National Monument on Friday, according to authorities.
The climber, an unidentified male, slipped and got his knee lodged in a crack while climbing a route known as Generic Crack Climbing Route in the southern Utah park. The incident occurred around 8 p.m. on Friday evening.
The man’s climbing partners attempted to free him from the wall but were unsuccessful in their efforts. The group then called San Juan County Search and Rescue (SAR) to assist with the rescue.
When SAR personnel arrived at the Indian Creek parking area, they determined that aerial assistance would be required to reach the stranded hiker based on his location high up on the cliff face. SAR contacted Classic Air Medical to fly rescuers to the top of the wall so they could rappel down to the victim.
A SAR team rappelled down the rock wall from the helicopter perch to make contact with the stuck hiker and begin efforts to extricate him. However, after several hours of working to free the man from the crack, SAR determined that additional manpower would be necessary to complete the operation.
SAR put in a request for help from Grand County SAR, which provided more rescue personnel to aid in the increasingly complex mission. With the supplemental support, rescuers were finally able to free the hiker’s leg from the wedged position it had been stuck in for approximately 12 hours.
Once freed from the wall, the hiker was brought down to ground level by rescue teams. According to San Juan County SAR, the man thankfully only suffered minor injuries as a result of the lengthy entrapment.
In a statement, SAR credited the successful rescue to teamwork with its partners, singling out Classic Air Medical for airlifting personnel to the scene and Grand County SAR for supplying added manpower needed to free the victim.
The hiker was freed from the cliff face late Friday night and completed his descent early Saturday morning, concluding the hours-long rescue operation.
Cover photo courtesy of: San Juan County Search and Rescue