A fallen climber was sent to Penticton Regional Hospital with a head injury Tuesday afternoon after he was extracted from an area deep in Skaha Bluffs by Penticton Search and Rescue.
PenSAR is calling it a successful operation, which was their first bush rescue of the hiking and climbing season this year.
Emergency crews were called to the bluffs at around 2:30 p.m. to a climber who fell deep in the bluffs — an area called the Screeching Wall.
“We received a call from emergency co-ordination centre in Victoria saying there was an injured climber at Skaha Bluffs and had fallen and had suffered a head injury and possible back injury,” PenSAR manager Richard Terry said.
“(He had) a head injury and he was complaining of a sore shoulder and back pain, so he’s turned over to B.C. Ambulance and they’ll transport him to Penticton hospital.”
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Terry said the climber was alert upon his arrival at the ambulance in the Skaha Bluffs parking lot. The man had a laceration on the back of his head, though Terry could not say whether he was wearing a helmet.
Penticton Fire Department were the first to the scene and while a helicopter was prepared for the extraction, firefighters hiked to the location of the fallen climber. Numerous PenSAR personnel at the scene said fire crews were able to get to the scene quickly, despite the distance and some of the trails.
A PenSAR volunteer told the Western News that extracting the patient by foot likely would have taken several hours. It also could have been dangerous, involving a single-wheeled stretcher for a patient being transported by several personnel on sometimes narrow trails.
Terry couldn’t say whether the Screeching Wall was an advanced climb or not, but said it was “pretty deep” into the bush.
“It’s a pretty routine call for us. We do several of these a year at the bluffs,” he said.
ORIGINAL: 3:32 p.m.
Emergency services and Penticton Search and Rescue were called out to the Skaha Bluffs on Tuesday afternoon.
A person required medical attention at the ‘Screeching Wall’ section at the north-west end of the Skaha Bluffs climbing and hiking park around 2:30 p.m.
A helicopter was scouting area and search and rescue told the Western News they are going to long-line the person out of the area then drop them off to an ambulance in the parking lot. According to the search and rescue contact, if they did not have access to the helicopter, it would have taken five hours to hike the person out on a stretcher.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.