The first short-haul rescue completed at Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Short-haul rescue
Short-haul rescue in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, June 2, 2020. NPS photo by Tom Schaefer.

After training for years, on June 2 park rangers at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park executed their first short-haul rescue in the park.

It involved a man who had taken a 50-foot lead climbing fall on the Scenic Cruise climbing route in Cruise Gully. Despite having a broken ankle, the 43-year-old climber from South Jordan, Utah was able to rappel to the base of the route. Rangers responded to the scene and arranged for a short haul rescue to the south rim helicopter landing pad.

Short haul is the transportation of personnel suspended under a helicopter on a fixed line. Black Canyon rangers have been training with Mesa Verde Helitack for the last two years.

The park is in southwest Colorado northeast of Montrose.

2 thoughts on “The first short-haul rescue completed at Black Canyon of the Gunnison”

  1. Thanks for the article Bill. It confirmed a theory I had when Durango Fire Dispatch did a flight following for Mesa Verde National Park’s ship to Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP I suspected they were responding to a climbing accident in the Canyon. Their helitack is the only short haul crew in this part of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. Last year they flew over the lookout for a rescue in Arches National Park.

    1. My partner Thor was short hauled out of the Black Canyon around 2000. He broke both ankles on Journey Home near the Scenic Cruise. The little white Magnum PI heli dropped a litter and then picked him up and flew him to the South Rim. What a life saver!

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