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Two Climbers and Thumb Rescued from El Capitan

Monday, one of two Austrian climbers on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, California took a fall. He didn't fall to the ground, but his safety rope snapped off his right thumb. The thumb landed on the ledge that the climber's partner was on, so he saved the severed digit. The climbers had a phone with them, and called for help. YOSAR (Yosemite Search and Rescue) made a difficult and dramatic retrieval of the injured man from the cliff face, as you'll see in an account from climber and photographer Tom Evans.
I couldn’t believe it… they were going to send up Rangers Jeff Webb, and Dave Pope, on the end of a 100ft line hanging from the bottom of the NPS Fire chopper, and somehow have the climbers pull them into the belay!  I have never seen such a mission on an EC rescue as the chopper would be awfully close to the face and it isn’t that easy to pull people hanging on a rope 30 or so feet into a stance.  The late afternoon light was fading fast so they send the chopper, flown brilliantly by Richard Shatto, up to take a look and judge if the wind conditions were within limits.

After the initial flight the Rangers were attached to the long line and the mission was on.  The chopper lifted up and the men were soon riding the rocket to the face of ElCap!  Impressive to say the least!

Evans took plenty of breathtaking photographs of the rescue operation. Oh yeah, the thumb was surgically reattached. Link -via Metafilter

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