Barbara Lawlor, Boulder Canyon. A 30-year-old Boulder County man fell more than 50 feet down a rock wall across the creek from Boulder Falls in Boulder Canyon on Sunday afternoon, May 28.
The man had been waiting to climb the Tornnere Climbing tower and was standing on a ledge, according to another climber who had been standing near him. The witness said the man dropped his phone case and when he went to retrieve it, he stumbled and plunged down the wall of the cliff until he was stopped by a tree.
“I scrambled down to the canyon and drove to where there was cell phone service and called for help,” says the witness.
The accident happened around 2:30 p.m. It was a pleasant day. The canyon was filled with Memorial Day traffic which was soon limited to one-lane traffic as multiple emergency agencies arrived to begin the rescue, which would require a technical evacuation across the creek.
The Nederland Police Department, Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, American Medical Response, Boulder Emergency Squad Dive Team, Boulder Fire Department, and the Sugarloaf Fire Department arrived on scene and paramedics crossed the creek via a permanent cable set up for climbers.
The dive units and RMR set up ropes and pulleys preparing to bring the patient down the slope, secure him to a gurney and then pull him, suspended by ropes, across the creek.
The climber sustained a non-life threatening injury to his right shoulder. He had several years of experience climbing, was wearing a helmet and had been equipped with proper safety equipment at the time of the accident, says the BC Sheriff’s office.
When rescuers reached the patient, he was in pain, but alert and able to answer questions.
Members with RMR used ropes for the technical rescue as dive team members set up safety points along the creek. When the patient made it safely across the creek and up the opposite slope, he was transferred to an AMR ambulance and taken to the hospital.
(Originally published in the June 1, 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)