Complicated Rescue on Leaning Tower Photographed

Posted on: June 28, 2013

On June 25 an emergency call was sent by a solo climber who took a fall while climbing the West Face route (5.7 A2+, 700') on Leaning Tower in Yosemite. The climber injured his lower back, but was able to rappel back down a ledge. A photographer and permanent fixture in Yosemite Valley, Tom Evans, was there to document the rescue.


Yosemite Search and Rescue (YOSAR) sent Todd Bartlow and Niels Tietze up to the injured climber. Tietze quickly short fixed four pitches while Bartlow followed. They were able to reach the injured climber in less than two hours of climbing.

After assessing the situation, they decided that the climber would have to be lowered off the overhanging cliff. The Yosemite fire helicopter, flown by Richard Shatto made multiple trips to and from the Tower. He transported four rangers to the top of the wall. Aaron Smith was lowered down 800 feet to the injured climber. He worked with Tietze and Bartlow to treat his injuries and secure him in the litter. The team descended safely, and the climber was flown to the El Cap Meadow where he received medical assistance.

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