(Press Release from Mono County Sheriff– Rescue of Climber on Mount Dana)
On July 19, 2020, at 11:30 am, the Mono County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Search and Rescue (SAR) Team was called to assist a climber on the Third Pillar of Dana. The climber had taken a lead fall and suffered various injuries. The SAR Team staged at the Lee Vining airport and began assembling gear. California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter H40 was requested as an aerial resource.
Several field teams drove to Tioga Lake and the trailhead for Glacier Canyon, which leads to the use trail to the top of the Dana Third Pillar. Carrying fairly light packs, the field teams quickly made their way to the top of the Third Pillar, where they built a lowering system to lower a team member and litter to the subject at the top of the third pitch, approximately 300 feet below the summit.
The subject was assessed, treated and packaged in the litter, then the rigging team at the top converted the lowering system to a 7:1 mechanical advantage raising system and hauled the subject and attendant back to the summit. CHP H40 had arrived and was able to land on the Dana Plateau. The subject was carried to the A-Star, and CHP delivered the subject to Mono County medics waiting at the Lee Vining airport. The subject was transported to Mammoth Hospital for further treatment.
The rigging team converted back to a descent configuration, and a team member was lowered to assist the injured climber’s partner. The rigging team converted to a raising system and hauled both to the summit. The injured party’s partner hiked out with the SAR Team, who departed after dismantling their rigging systems. Sixteen Team members responded to this call and volunteered 172 hours. The rescue lasted nearly 11 hours, ending at approximately 10 pm.