A stranded climber stuck on the edge of a mountain 13,000 feet high is safe today after a daring rescue.
The 19-year-old Canadian climber was stuck on the side of Longs Peak in Colorado for more than a day. Samuel Frappier used a cell phone to call for help late on Tuesday, after becoming trapped on a spot known as “Broadway Ledge.”
With a sheer drop of thousands of feet just below the stranded climber, rescue crews had a difficult time formulating a plan of action.
After several hours with the teen stuck in frigid temperatures, Grand Teton National Park was able to send a Teton Interagency helicopter carrying four rangers. The rescue crew had expertise in “short-haul” recovery, which is used in places where it is too dangerous for a helicopter to land.
The rescue involved lowering one ranger to tie a rope to the stranded climber so he could be lifted out.
The climber had to wait several hours for conditions safe enough for a rescue, however. The team faced many hazards, including falling rocks and ice caused by the warm weather melting nearby ice and snow.
“The trail (at the summit) was covered by snow,” Summit County Rescue Group coordinator Ben Butler said Wednesday. “There were probably 5-foot drifts up there. Not knowing where you’re going, it’s pretty tough right now.”
They waited until the afternoon, when the area became shaded and the melting slowed.
Authorities said Frappier was in over his head on the mountain. He has no experience as a mountain climber and had no climbing equipment with him either. Rescue crews said he was wearing only cotton clothes and tennis shoes.
He was part of a group that had some experience climbing, but not on snow.
“They acknowledged what they did wrong,” and were very appreciative, said rescue coordinator Jim Koegel. “They topped out at snow and were ill at ease.”
The saga of the mountaintop rescue played out both on local and national media, with news outlets giving updates throughout the day as plans for his rescue were put into place.
In the end, it took 28 team members and several helicopters to rescue the stranded climber.