Smith Rock climber injured in fall, rescued

Vertical rope system set up after nightfall

TERREBONNE, Ore. - A Bend climber was injured in a fall at Smith Rock early Saturday evening, prompting a tricky nighttime rescue operation that lifted him about 40 feet to safety for a trip to the hospital, authorities said.

Deschutes County 911 dispatchers received a call around 5:30 p.m. from a Bend woman who said her husband, Samuel Bedell, 30, had suffered an injury that would require a rescue to get him out of the lower gorge near the North Point parking lot of Smith Rock State Park, sheriff's Deputy and Assistant Search and Rescue Coordinator James Whitcomb said.

Redmond Fire and Rescue, two sheriff's deputies and 20 SAR volunteers responded to the scene, finding Bedell around 6:15 p.m. on a small ledge below a vertical cliff, Whitcomb said. Redmond Fire Marshal Traci Cooper said the injured climber was about 35 feet below the rim. 

A vertical rope system was set up while fire medics assessed Bedell's injuries, began treatment and packaged him into a litter that was raised about 40 feet, reaching the top shortly before 9 p.m.

Whitcomb said officials learned Bedell had been in a group of six people who crossed the Crooked River to save time and distance in getting back to the main parking lot.

The group was trying to find a ladder in the area to reach the top of the cliff when Bedell fell, the deputy said, adding that there were no witnesses to the fall.

A Redmond Fire ambulance took Bedell to St. Charles Bend with non-life-threatening injuries, Whitcomb said.

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