Survivor Club

Rescue Map

Fallen climber evacuated to hospital by blackhawk

Name Justin Vassar
Product Name ACR ResQLink
Date of Rescue 09/14/2014
Saved By High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Training Site (HAATS) and Mountain Rescue Aspen
Beacon Purchased From
Lives Saved 1

On Sunday, Sept. 14th 2014, at approximately 2 pm, one of my climbing partners fell approximately 300 feet down a loose gully after the rock he was climbing on near Capitol peak in the Elk mountains crumbled underneath him.

When I found out that he was hurt (broken arm and severe lacerations), my first step was to activate my ACR beacon. After activating the beacon, I found a safe route to get to him without setting off any addition rockfall, and moved him to the side of the gully where it was safer. Once in the safer zone, I used my WFR skills to stop the heavy bleeding from his head (his helmet was crushed), splint his broken left arm with my trekking poles, and bandage up his bleeding right hand and his legs.

After stopping most of the bleeding, another responder and I helped him move out of the gully to the ridge top. The other responder had communicated via cell phone with SAR, and in less than 2.5 hours from the initial fall, a Blackhawk helicopter from the HAATS base in gypsum, Colorado was able to pick him up and transport him to the hospital, where he underwent 3 hours of surgery on his wounds.

We were very lucky that one of the responders was able to get cell phone reception at the location of the accident, and I was very happy to know that after talking to one of the members of Mountain Rescue Aspen that they did receive the ACR signal and that it was useful to determine the location of the chopper evacuation.