Injured Climber Tahquitz Rock

October 21, 2011
Tahquitz Rock, Idyllwild

Written by Chad Marler

At 10:00 a.m. Friday, October 21, 2011, Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit was called to assist an injured climber on Tahquitz Rock. The climber had fallen 60 to 70 feet after his anchors failed and he fell down the face of the vertical rock. The climber, Grayson, sustained lower leg injuries and a few lacerations, and was unable to walk. Idyllwild Fire and USFS Engine 56 were first on scene with eight members. Team One for RMRU consisted of Mike Herman and me. As Mike and I arrived on scene on the East side of "Lunch Rock", we found the subject already being lowered down by teams on scene.

Team Two for RMRU consisted of Patrick McCurdy and Glenn Henderson. As Team Two arrived, they set up anchors and utilized our 200 foot ropes. This allowed the personnel doing the carry out to progress much faster. Each step was arduous and loose, as the terrain gave way and rocks tumbled down below our feet. We had at least four to six men carrying the litter that held our subject while the other team members maintained control of our rope systems, acting as a "fail safe" in case we lost our footing.

Subjects and Rescuers

RMRU and Riverside County Fire personnel assess Grayson's injuries
Photo by Mike Herman (RMRU)

After about 45 minutes of carrying Grayson down, we came to a nice clearing where a helicopter could do a hoist. Cal Fire helicopter 301 was available and could be on scene in 30 minutes. Grayson was in good spirits and had thanked all of us for our help before being lifted out. The hoist was smooth and Grayson was aboard the helicopter and off to Riverside County Hospital in Moreno Valley.

RMRU members at Base Ops included Gwenda Yates, Paul Caraher, and Pete Carlson. While our mission was concluding, Paul and Pete subsequently ran a second mission - a search for a lost hiker on the Ernie Maxwell Trail. The subject for the second mission ended up taking an alternative route home that added a few hours to her scheduled journey.

RMRU team members present: Paul Caraher, Pete Carlson, Glenn Henderson, Mike Herman, Patrick McCurdy, Chad Marler, and Gwenda Yates.

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