Climber survives 15m overhang plummet

• Visiting rock climber falls while climbing overhanging route at The Mine
• Terrain taming wheel deployed to help carry stricken climber to safety
• Less than 3% of annual callouts involve rock climbers
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• Outdoor lovers are urged to memorise this crucial Emergency Number: 021 937 0300
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Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) Report – December 05, 2023.

Dedicated teams of professionals and volunteers from Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR) responded to Ou Kaapse Weg near Steenberg after a foreign rock climber fell and injured himself on Tuesday afternoon.  

The 35 year-old visiting climber and eight others were climbing at The Mine, a steep and overhanging sport climbing crag on the mountain above the Silvermine Military base.

A crag is a rock climbing area, typically found on dominant rock features like a buttresses or cliff faces, with one or more climbing routes on it. Sport climbing routes have safety anchors bolted into the rock. 

According to reports, the climber was nearing the third bolt on a route call Locomotion, when he fell approximately 15m, tumbling down past the start of the route.

Realising the climber had injured himself, a member of the group immediately called the emergency number 021 937 0300.

Teams of rescuers quickly hiked up to the fallen climber.

He was treated by a paramedic before rescuers moved him onto a rescue stretcher. 

The rescue team again deployed the incredible Cascade Rescue Company Terra Tamer stretcher wheel. 

Together with a rope safety system, the wheel allowed the team to move stretchered patient safely over the broken ground, from the crag back down to the hiking trail.

Rescuers carried him back down the trail to the parking area. He was transferred to a waiting ambulance and driven to hospital.

The incident was concluded at 20h40.

David Nel, a spokesperson for Wilderness Search And Rescue (WSAR), said: “Rock climbing is generally a safe activity with a strong focus on buddy-check safety.

In the last 15 years Wilderness Search And Rescue has responded to only 68 rock climbing related incidents, roughly 3% of rescues annually.

“No injuries were reported in 28 of these callouts.

“We encourage anyone curious about the sport, to visit one of the many rock climbing gyms in Cape Town, or hire a qualified climbing guide, to help to show them the ropes.

“We wish the patient a speedy recovery”, Nel said.

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Photos by The Mountain Club of SA – Search And Rescue, Daniel Vorster and Fredy Mohorich