Woman Rescued After Fall Down Steep Ravine In Bighorn National Forest

A 50-year-old woman who fell down a steep embankment near Shell Falls in the Bighorn National Forest on Sunday was hurt and had to be retrieved using a rope and pulley system.

AR
Andrew Rossi

October 18, 20232 min read

Search and rescue responders and volunteers help retrieve a woman who slipped and fell in the Shell Falls area of Big Horn County on Sunday.
Search and rescue responders and volunteers help retrieve a woman who slipped and fell in the Shell Falls area of Big Horn County on Sunday. (South Big Horn County Search and Rescue)

Big Horn County Search and Rescue teams had to rig a pulley system of ropes to retrieve a woman who was walking along the road when she fell down a steep embankment into a canyon in Bighorn National Forest.

The 50-year-old woman was visiting the Shell Falls Interpretive Site at about 4 p.m. Sunday when she slipped down an embankment beside the road between Shell Falls and the site’s visitor center, the South Big Horn County Search and Rescue team reports.

Both the south and north teams of the search and rescue squads were mobilized, along with the Shell Fire Department and an ambulance from Cody Regional Health.

Once there, it became apparent that the woman “went over a vertical drop and was out of sight below” and was hurt, according to a search and rescue report. “Another subject, who was a friend of the (woman) who had fallen had been able to make her way to the subject and was with her at the bottom.”

Bring In The Ropes

A pair of search and rescue technical rope team members, including one who is a paramedic, rappelled into the canyon to the victim and her friend, the report says. After assessing the victim’s injuries, a pulleysystem was set up to safely pull the injured woman out of the ravine.

Once the victim was placed in a full-body vacuum mattress and litter system, a haul team brought her to the top with the three rope technicians. Another trip was made so the person who had stayed with the victim could be evacuated as well, according to the search and rescue report.

The woman was initially loaded onto a helicopter provided by First Flight of Wyoming, a new aerial medical service provided by Cody Regional Health. However, she ultimately decided to evacuated by ground ambulance instead.

South Big Horn County Search and Rescue Team praised the “fantastic response by all agencies,” and reminds people about the importance of paying attention while in the outdoors.

“We would again like to remind the public to please take pictures from the view areas at Shell Falls,” the report says. “There are very steep slopes that end in vertical drop-offs in many areas around the falls and in other areas of the canyon.”

Andrew Rossi can be reached at arossi@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Andrew Rossi

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