Climber incident on Stawamus Chief 

Squamish Search and Rescue organizing helicopter rescue

click to enlarge Photo: FILE PHOTO/STEVEN CHUA

Squamish Search and Rescue president BJ Chute said they are responding to an incident involving a climber at the Stawamus Chief.

Around 11:35 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 22, SAR was organizing for a long-line helicopter response. Details of the climber's condition haven't been released.

Initial reports suggested the climber was a man from the U.S. in his 30s, but since then SAR has identified the climber as a woman.

Rescuers say she fell from the Apron climbing area. Chute did not have information about how the woman fell, but her climbing partner was able to secure her to a ledge. The call to Squamish SAR said the climber hit her head. The team has not been able to confirm the extent of her injuries yet.

Earlier, two rescuers were putting the patient on a long-line. Two ground ambulances and an air ambulance were waiting for the climber at the staging area.

Chute said the conditions, whether the area was dry or wet from recent rain, is unknown at this time.

The Squamish SAR president said there has been a spike in climbing incidents since the beginning of August, but there hasn't been an overall spike in climbing-related calls this year. He said this could be because there's more activity in the Sea to Sky Corridor in general.

"It seemed earlier in the season we had a rash of inexperienced climbers, and whether that was a reason for that increase early on, but certainly the last several rescues, we have taken part in, we've rescued people who are experienced climbers. I don't know what this gentleman's experience level is at this point," Chute said.

Last August, in 2018, Chute said the SAR call volume was lower, they think due to wildfire smoke.

This incident comes two days after another recent rescue by local SAR on the Chief, on Aug. 20.

In the summer of 2019, there have been two climbing fatalities on the Chief. A climber fell from the Grand Wall on June 22, and local climber Ken Anderson has been named as the climber who fell on Aug. 4.

This story will be updated when more information becomes available.

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