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[TR] Liberty Bell - Helicopter rescue 8/13/2011
timmy_t posted a topic in North CascadesTrip: Liberty Bell - Helicopter rescue Date: 8/13/2011 Trip Report: Since I know you guys are drawn to the macabre, I thought I'd share some photos of a helicopter evacuation that happened in the gully between Liberty Bell and Concord Tower this past weekend. I should mention that this is a very PG-13 rated trip report: no blood, sex, or foul language; just a broken leg... sorry. My girlfriend and I got a late start out of Mount Vernon and decided to head up Liberty Bell for an afternoon climb. We passed this mountain goat resting in the shade (and panting heavily) at the base of the gully. A few minutes later we came across a Kiwi who was laying in the middle of the gully between Liberty Bell and Concord Tower, maybe 200 feet below the notch. Apparently he had climbed Liberty Bell and had a freak accident on the hike down: his right foot twisted, resulting in what he believed was a spiral fracture of both the tibia and fibula below his calf. He was in good spirits, all things considered, and was hanging out with two climbers who had heard him scream when they were on the first pitch of the Beckey route. He had sent his partner down for help (after the other group activated their SPOT beacon), and they were awaiting a helicopter evacuation. My girlfriend was concerned. We had seen two bloodied/bandaged climbers at the trailhead, and a motorcyclist laying on the road (being attended to by paramedics) in Marblemount, and this was the last straw. We bailed on the climb and decided to wait with the Kiwi to assist with the evacuation, if needed. Plus it sounded fun to watch. After a couple of hours we heard the helicopter (a SAR blackhawk? from Whidbey Island NAS), then saw it circling overhead looking for us. Getting closer... After locating us the crew did about 15 flybys to assess the situation. We found out later that they were burning fuel (to make the hover easier) while waiting for the ground SAR people to arrive. Once the two ground SAR people showed up the helicopter lowered a guy into the gully. They asked the rest of us to get against the wall of Concord. The rotorwash was unbelievable, as was the noise. It felt like being inside a sandblaster, and we had to hold on to the rock to avoid being blown over. They resplinted the leg, slipped the Kiwi into a vest, clipped in... And headed up... Up... Up... And away! Sorry for the redundancy in the photos but it was pretty cool to watch. Ladies and Gentlemen we are floating in space We still had to hike out. Parting shot of Concord Tower: Finally, in case you're wondering how SAR is so quick, here's one answer: motorized transportation to the start of the climber's trail.