Rock Climber Stranded On ‘I’ll Tell You What’s Cool’ Cliff West of Cody OK After Rescue

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By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Wendy@cowboystatedaily.com

For rock climbers, there aren’t many places you can drive just a few miles outside of town and find world-class terrain.

In Cody, high-angle opportunities abound just west of town – and on a cliffside known to climbers as “I’ll Tell You What’s Cool” – a climber found himself in a perilous situation this week. But highly trained volunteers with Park County Search and Rescue were ready – and able – to pull off a harrowing nighttime rescue.

A 19-year-old climber’s rope became stuck about 300 feet from the ground Monday, said Bill Brown, coordinator for the PCSAR squad. Brown said the rescue happened at night, which made the task a little more daunting.

It Took Hours

“We were paged out about a quarter to 9,” Brown told Cowboy State Daily. “And we all went home about 2 a.m.”

A local climber familiar with the area was requested to help PCSAR find the top of the route, which is difficult to locate even in daytime. The stranded climber was wearing a headlamp, which helped rescuers find his location.

“He was able to assist in his own rescue,” Brown said. ”We sent one of our people down to check him out and get him a coat and stuff, get him some water, and then they both ascended.”

Brown said that because they were able to climb ropes instead of the rock, the rescue was made a bit easier.

“If we would have had to haul him back up, it would have been a lot more technical,” Brown said. “Thankfully, it worked out very well.”

Brown said by 12:30 a.m. both the climber and the PCSAR member made it back to the top of the route and everyone began walking out. 

Trained For Situations Like This

Because PCSAR is responsible for calls in mostly mountainous terrain (the team’s jurisdiction covers 2,192 square miles, much of it wilderness), Brown said the 34-member volunteer squad’s high-angle rescue team (made up of about seven members) has been professionally trained for situations like Monday’s.

“We’ve trained with a friend of mine from Australia, Rope Lab is his company name,” said Brown. “He came up and did a five-day backcountry rope rescue course a few years ago, and then this spring we did (similar training) with Peak Rescue out of Casper.”

Brown said the training helps volunteers solidify their skills as a team, although the need for their services doesn’t happen frequently.

“It’s pretty rare,” he said. “It’s a low-frequency high-risk (occurrence), so you still have to train for it.”

But it’s a training that the volunteers on the high-angle rescue team enjoy, Brown said.

“We all love to help, and we love what we do,” he said.

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