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Fallen, injured Smith Rock climber rescued from ravine

High-angle rope rescue employed by SAR, Mountain Rescue Unit

TERREBONNE, Ore. - A Portland man climbing at Smith Rock State Park was injured Saturday in a 15-foot fall at the bottom of a 125-foot-deep ravine, prompting the use of a high-angle rope rescue system to reach and treat the man and bring him to safety, authorities said.

call-out of Deschutes County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue's Mountain Rescue Unit rigged a high-angle system Saturday to reach and help Redmond Fire Department medics treat a Portland man who fell about 15 feet while climbing from the bottom of a 125-foot-deep ravine at Smith Rock State Park, officials said.

Shortly after noon, Deschutes County 911 dispatchers got a call from climber Mike Smith, reporting a fellow climber, Andrew Duncan, 37, of Portland, had just fallen and was injured, said sheriff's Deputy Jeff Winters, assistant coordinator of the Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue unit.

Smith reported that Duncan had fallen about 10 feet while climbing on the west side of the lower gorge, a deep ravine east of the park's main parking lot, Winters said in a news release.

Investigators learned that Duncan, an experienced climber, was doing "traditional climbing" up from the bottom of the ravine with at least two other climbers, Winters said. While attempting to clip into an anchor about 15 feet off the ground, Duncan lost his grip and fell back to the ground.

Duncan was located about 125 feet down a vertical rock face, near the Crooked River, Winters said. Since there are no roads or maintained trails in that location, Deschutes County SAR was called in to help the Redmond Fire Department.

A team of 18 volunteers and one special services deputy responded to the scene. While they did, two Redmond fire medics hiked down to the bottom of the ravine and began making their way to Duncan's location, Winters said.

Once SAR arrived, the Mountain Rescue Unit members set up a rope system that was anchored off two juniper trees, about 100 feet back from the edge. One member then rappelled down to the bottom of the ravine to help with treatment and the hoisting of Duncan.

Once Redmond's medics conducted initial treatment, rescuers determined Duncan would need to be lifted up the rock face, Winters said. A litter was lowered over the edge and down into the ravine to the waiting medics and SAR member.

Duncan was secured in the litter and hoisted out of the ravine, then turned over to the care of Redmond Fire medics, Winters said. He was taken to St. Charles Redmond with non-life-threatening injuries.


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