Rock climber survives 120-foot fall in Mesa County

A 48-year-old man from Grand Junction was rescued by the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office after falling more than 120 feet from a rock climb on Saturday. The man suffered injuries but was in stable condition, according to the authorities.

The accident

The man was climbing the Tooth and Claw Climb, a popular route in the area of Mother’s Buttress, north of Highway 141 and south of Whitewater. He was with a companion when he fell from the climb around 10:30 a.m., the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.

The companion called 911 and reported that the man was unconscious and bleeding. He also said that they were on a ledge about 200 feet from the base of the climb, and that he did not have a rope to lower him down.

The rescue

The Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, the Gateway Fire Department, CareFlight, the Bureau of Land Management, and search and rescue volunteers responded to the scene. They used a drone to locate the fallen climber and his companion on the ledge.

The rescue team then deployed two climbers, who rappelled down from the top of the cliff to reach the injured man. They stabilized him and prepared him for extraction.

Rock climber survives

Meanwhile, a helicopter from CareFlight arrived and hovered above the ledge. The helicopter crew lowered a basket and lifted the man to safety. He was then flown to a local hospital for treatment.

The sheriff’s office did not disclose the name of the climber or the extent of his injuries, but said that he was stable and responsive.

The aftermath

The rescue operation took about three hours and required the temporary closure of Highway 141 in both directions. The sheriff’s office thanked all the agencies and volunteers who participated in the rescue and praised their professionalism and coordination.

The sheriff’s office also reminded the public to be careful when engaging in outdoor activities, especially in remote areas. They advised climbers to wear helmets, use proper equipment, and have a plan in case of an emergency.

The Tooth and Claw Climb is a 5.10+ rated route that features a steep and overhanging wall with cracks and pockets. It is considered a challenging and rewarding climb for experienced climbers.

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