Crews scale cliffs in Snow Canyon to rescue man injured while rappelling

SNOW CANYON STATE PARK — A man was rescued in Snow Canyon State Park Sunday after falling 30 feet during a rappel.

Emergency personnel lower a man injured while rappelling to safety at Island in the Sky in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, Oct. 15, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Emergency crews responded to the incident just after 4 p.m. at the park’s Island in the Sky, a popular climbing, hiking and rappelling area.

“A kid in his mid-20s was rappelling – apparently being belayed from the top – and he swung across the rocks and bounced off of them a couple times and fell about 30 feet,” Sgt. Darrell Cashin, Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Liaison, said.

Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue’s high angle team and medical personnel from Ivins EMS hiked up a steep notch in the area’s rocky terrain to reach the injured patient.

The man was conscious and talking when crews reached him. He complained of pain in the shoulder and ankle and was unable to walk on his own.

EMTs wrapped and immobilized his ankle then loaded him into a Stokes basket to be lowered approximately 200 feet down a cliff face to safety.

Emergency personnel lower a man injured while rappelling to safety in Snow Canyon State Park, Utah, Oct. 15, 2017 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

Crews worked cautiously to prepare a pulley lowering system for the descent down the sandstone rock feature.

“The patient wasn’t critical so they could slow everything down,” Cashin said of the operation.

Lowering the patient is a safer and faster alternative to hiking down on foot, high angle crew member Ben Callahan said.

“Up at the top, the guys are controlling the speed of the lower,” he said. “If they need to stop or lock off, they can stop immediately.”

“If we come upon something tricky,” Callahan said, “we can also rig it to raise it back up and then choose a different route or whatever we need to do.”

After the patient was successfully lowered to sturdier ground, he was loaded onto a medical all-terrain vehicle and transported to a nearby parking area. He declined transport by an awaiting ambulance and was instead taken to the hospital by his friends.

“It went off without a hitch,” Cashin said of the effort, adding that none of the rescuers were hurt during the incident.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • Anon October 16, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Well done SAR and Ivins FD! Glad you were able to help and stay safe yourselves. 🙂

  • .... October 16, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Make sure he gets the bill for the rescue and not the tax payers

    • Real Life October 16, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      The tax payers paid your Obama phone that you use to pester this very web site.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.