Search and Rescue crews work to save injured free climber in Snow Canyon

ST. GEORGE — Search and Rescue teams were called out to Snow Canyon State Park Tuesday evening to assist a male who had fallen about 25 feet.

Search and Rescue crews respond to Snow Canyon State Park after a free climber fell an estimated 25 feet, Ivins, Utah, May 19, 2020 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News

The man, accompanied by a woman, was free climbing when he fell and suffered injuries around 5:30 p.m.

“We have a male and a female up there, they were free climbing,” Washington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Darrell Cashin said. “The male fell approximately 25 feet. He is showing some injury where he is not moveable so we’re going to have to put him in a stokes basket and try to get him off.”

An Intermountain Life Flight helicopter was called to the scene where it dropped some high angle equipment down to the search and rescue crew already on the mountain with the climbers. Cashin said the search and rescue crews were going to start working on a lowering system with a high line, but with only manpower, the rescue could take at least four hours.

Cashin also said they are currently waiting on the UHP helicopter to get to the scene so they could potentially hoist the male off the mountain, but their estimated time of arrival was 9:30-10 p.m. SAR is going with the fastest options right now as there is some concern in regard to the male.

Search and Rescue crews respond to Snow Canyon State Park after a free climber fell an estimated 25 feet, Ivins, Utah, May 19, 2020 | Photo by Ryne Williams, St. George News

Crews are concerned that if the male is not brought down from the mountain in a decent amount of time, there is a possibility he may not survive the accident. Cashin also said the male is conscious and talking, but he is in some pain.

“People free climb in here all the time, it’s just when those accidents occur they’re usually in extremely rough terrain in an extremely remote place,” Cashin said.

The biggest difficulty that the SAR crews are dealing with is the wind, which is a concern for the helicopters involved.

“It’s extremely difficult because the wind we’re feeling down here is magnified up there,” Cashin said. “He said it’s very choppy, it’s swirling a lot and it’s hard to keep the bird in one place, which is our problem if we hoist this guy off.”

The rescue is ongoing and this story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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