Emmett Lyman, 40, took a 30-metre fall while climbing in the Neacola mountains in Lake Clark National Park and was rescued by an Alaska Air National Guard crew.
Alaska State Troopers were notified of Lyman’s location via a Garmin near the Neacola River at about 10 p.m. on Saturday, according to an online dispatch.
The Neacola River is near Telaquana Pass, on the border of Lake Clark National Park. Troopers contacted the Rescue Coordination Center and an Alaska Air National Guard rescue team flew to the location.
When the rescue crew reached the location, they couldn’t see the climbers through cloud cover.
“After several attempts, the helicopter landed in a lower bowl of the mountain to allow pararescumen to climb up to the injured climber, who was suspended by rope and climbing gear to the nearly vertical rock wall on the mountain,” Olmstead wrote. “Thick clouds and zero visibility impeded that option.”
Eventually, the clouds lifted and a pararescueman connected the injured climber to a harness and hoisted him back into the helicopter.
The helicopter had to hover unusually close to the rock face to get the climber out, Olmstead wrote.
Lyman had suffered “severe trauma” and was taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center hospital in critical condition.
Lyman was awarded a $250 grant toward making “first ascents in a range of serious, unnamed, unclimbed, peaks in a little-known corner of the Alaska Range in south-central Alaska” from The American Alpine Club and The North Face for his trip. See more here.
The Neacolas are are at the “southwest tip of the Alaska Range and the northwest end of the Aleutian Range,” according to the American Alpine Club.
In an article, the club describes the area as a seldom explored range of unnamed peaks and glaciers. For a timeline of ascents in the area visit here.