Climber with Broken Ankle

June 21, 2020
Tahquitz Rock, Idyllwild

Written by Cameron Dickinson.

On the afternoon of June 21, the team was notified to respond for rescue of an injured climber on Tahquitz Rock. Glenn and I would head over to Hemet Ryan Airport. The intent was to fly over with Riverside Sheriff’s Aviation and hoist the injured hiker out, as team members Blake, Corey, Ray, and Donny would be on standby in case a hoist could not be performed.

A male climber in his mid-20’s had sustained a broken ankle when a piece of protection broke loose while climbing the first pitch on a route called “The Long Climb”. He dropped approximately 20 feet, hitting the ledge below, and landing on a second ledge. When Glenn and I arrived for the hoist, our injured climber was already resting at the base of the climb with his friend, awaiting rescue.

Looking Down before being Lowered to Base of Rock.
Image by Glenn

Cal Fire had arrived, and in was process of hiking up the hill to base of the climbing area where our subject was located. Once Glenn and I arrived, we were lowered down on the helicopter’s hoist, placing us 20-30 feet from the injured climber. We met with the climber and did our initial medical assessment. We found no other serious trauma, other than the broken ankle, and some abrasions.

Cameron Taping Ankle in Place before Hoist.
Image by Glenn

Surprisingly, the climber was in good spirits, despite the severe pain he was feeling from his injury. As Aviation was on standby at a nearby landing zone, we would proceed to support and brace the broken ankle to prevent movement during the medical transport. Cal Fire also arrived before the hoist and check his vitals. Within a few minutes, Aviation would fly back, and we hoisted our subject up and out. They flew to a nearby waiting paramedics/fire ambulance with the climber at Keenwild Forest Service Heliport. They then returned and hoisted Glenn and I out and we flew back to Hemet Ryan Airport.

RMRU Members Involved: Cameron Dickinson, Blake Douglas, Corey Ellison, Donny Goetz, Glenn Henderson, and Ray Weden.