DESCHUTES COUNTY SAR CONDUCTS HIGH ANGLE RESCUE OF FALLEN CLIMBER AT SMITH ROCK STATE PARK
News Release from Deschutes Co. Sheriff’s Office
Posted on FlashAlert: March 19th, 2016 6:40 PM
Released by: Deputy Jeff Winters
Assistant SAR Coordinator
Occurred: 03/19/2016 at 12:10 p.m.
Location: Smith Rock State Park
Fallen Climber: Andrew Duncan 37 years old, from Portland Oregon
Reporting party: Mike Smith
On 03/19/2016 at about 12:10 p.m., Deschutes County 911 received a call from a climber, Mike Smith, at Smith Rock State Park reporting that a rock climber, Drew Duncan, had just fallen, was injured and needed medical assistance.
Smith reported the location of the incident to be on the west side of the lower gorge, which is a deep ravine to the east of the main parking lot. Smith explained that Duncan had fallen approximately 10 feet while climbing.
Duncan was located about 125 feet down a vertical rock face, near the river. Due to the fact that there were no roads or maintained trails at the location of the fall, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue was requested to assist Redmond Fire Department with the rescue.
A team of 18 volunteers and one Special Services Deputy responded to the scene. As they were traveling from Bend, two medics from Redmond Fire hiked down to the bottom of the ravine and started making their way to Duncan’s location.
Upon SAR’s arrival, members from the Mountain Rescue Unit set up a rope system that was anchored off of two juniper trees about 100 feet back from the edge. One member then rappelled down to the bottom of the ravine to assist with treatment and hoisting of Duncan.
After initial treatment was conducted by Redmond Fire, it was determined that Duncan would need to be lifted directly up the rock face. A liter was then lowered over the edge, down into the ravine to the waiting medics and SAR member.
Duncan was secured in the liter and hoisted up the approximately 125 vertical feet out of the ravine where he was turned over to the care of Redmond Fire. Duncan was later transported to St. Charles in Redmond with non-life threatening injuries.
Investigation at the scene revealed Duncan was an experienced climber and was doing “traditional climbing,” up from the bottom of the ravine with at least two other climbers. While attempting to clip into an anchor about 15 feet off the ground, Duncan lost his grip and fell back to the ground.