Climber rescued from Yosemite's El Cap

10/23/2012 6:39 PM

10/23/2012 8:22 PM

Rangers and search and rescue personnel saved a stranded climber Monday from El Capitan, the largest granite monolith in the world.

Yosemite National Park spokeswoman Kari Cobb called the rescue "high risk" and said the Canadian climber was at risk for hypothermia.

The 40-year-old man who was rescued and another climber began ascending a climbing route, known as the Muir Wall, on El Capitan on Oct. 14. They were due to reach the top of the climb Sunday night, just before a large storm was predicted to hit.

The lead climber, a 24-year-old man from Ontario, Canada, reached the summit just before midnight Sunday. But his partner, a 40-year-old man from British Columbia, was forced to spend the night about 230 feet below the summit because of impending bad weather and a stuck climbing rope.

About 2 a.m. Monday, while the stranded climber was trying to set up shelter, he slipped and fell about 15 feet. He was able to climb back up to the ledge, but could not set up shelter.

He spent the night exposed to the elements in the area, which got 4 to 6 inches of snow and had temperatures in the mid-20s.

The weather prohibited the park from using a helicopter to locate the climber, so rangers Aaron Smith and Ben Doyle and search and rescue crew member Matt Othmer hiked to the summit of El Capitan to rescue the man They reached the summit about 4 p.m., then rigged anchors and lowered Smith 230 feet to the climber.

He attached ropes to the climber, and then ascended the ropes back to the summit.

After warming the climber, the team descended to Yosemite Valley by hiking and rappelling, and reached the valley floor at 10 p.m.

The climber was taken to a hospital and is in good condition.

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