Dramatic Rescue Documented on El Cap

Austrian man stranded after severing thumb


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An Austrian man took a fall on Monday afternoon near the summit of the Nose Route on El Capitan and severed his thumb, setting in motion a dramatic rescue by helicopter. The man, whose name was not released, was lead climbing some 1,000 feet from the mountain’s 7,569-foot summit when he fell and tangled his right thumb in his rope. Incredibly, the digit fell only 80 feet and landed on a small ledge, near enough for his partner Richard Edelsbacher to recover it. Yosemite search and rescue dispatched a helicopter and evacuated the man to California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, where doctors successfully put hand and thumb back together. Yosemite blogger Tom Evans was on site to take pictures as the climbers pulled two rescuers dangling from a helicopter onto the rock ledge where they were stranded. In more than four years of reporting from the mountain, the audacity of the rescue surprised even Evans. “I have never seen such a mission,” he wrote.

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