Jan 27, 2015

Ice climber injured, rescued after fall on South Fork

An ice climber from Auburn, Wash., was airlifted from the “Mean Green” ice flow near the Majo Ranch on Saturday after he was struck by a rock.

Eiji Sugi, 40, was climbing with a friend on the ice flow on the east side of the Shoshone River, according to a release from the Park County Sheriff’s Office. It's located southeast of the Cabin Creek Trailhead parking area at the end of the South Fork Road.

Search and Rescue volunteers rescued an injured Washington state man from the ‘Mean Green’ ice flow, pictured at lower left in this file photo from Park County Sheriff's Office.
The friends had climbed the ice flow and just completed a descent to the base when a softball-size rock became dislodged and fell approximately 80 to 100 feet, striking Sugi on the left side of the lower back. He experienced such extreme pain that he could not move, according to the release.

A deputy from the Park County Sheriff’s Office, an officer from the Bureau of Land Management, Park County Search and Rescue and West Park Ambulance Wilderness Rescue Team immediately responded to the scene after the call was received at 3:02 p.m. A helicopter from EagleMed Medical Transport Services out of Cody was also dispatched.

Rescue personnel reached Sugi at approximately 4:50 p.m. He showed no signs of paralysis; however he appeared to have several broken ribs.

The Wilderness Rescue Team stabilized Sugi on scene. However, due to the steepness of the terrain and the fact that it was snow-covered and slippery, the Search and Rescue personnel had to lower him to more stable ground by ropes utilizing a controlled descent maneuver.

The teams carried Sugi to the waiting helicopter where he was flown to West Park Hospital at 8:50 p.m.

His condition at this time is unknown. (UPDATE: Sugi is recovering and passing along his thanks to the emergency responders who rescued him.)

Park County Sheriff Scott Steward praised the efforts of the Search and Rescue unit.

“I cannot say it often enough,” Steward said. “These folks are volunteers who are ready at a moment’s notice to risk their own safety in service to others. We are fortunate to have them.”

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