Climber Stuck for 12 Hours in Crack—The Doctor Prescribed Ketamine

This article originally appeared on Climbing

On Friday, October 27, a climber was stuck for 12 hours on Indian Creek's Generic Crack, a 5.10- FA'd in 1976 by Jimmy Dunn and Brian Delaney. The climber, whose name has not been released, slipped while climbing and subsequently lodged his knee into the crack; he was 100 feet off the deck.

The incident occurred around 8 p.m. The stuck climber was wearing pants, so although his partners were able to procure soap after a quick trip to the van, dousing his leg did little to free it. San Juan County Search and Rescue members upped the ante; after rapping down from the wall, they tried motor oil and medical lubricant. But the knee remained stuck.

After several hours, a team from Grand County Search and Rescue arrived to assist. Finally, a paramedic administered ketamine to get the man's muscles to relax. Then, using a seven-to-one hoist system, the rescuers were able to free the climber. Miraculously, he suffered only minor physical injuries--though he'd be forgiven for avoiding wide cracks in the future. The whole ordeal took 12 hours.

Last January, a climber in Arizona dislodged her knee after slipping while throwing an alpine knee over a ledge. She was stuck in a crack for four hours before rescuers were able to pop her knee out using soap. More famously, Jason Kruk dislodged his knee on Boogie 'Till You Poop (aptly re-named after the incident). Although Kruk was eventually able to remove his knee without assistance, it came at great personal embarrassment.

Avery Olsen, the San Juan County Search and Rescue commander, spoke with Climbing via email, saying that he believes soap would have sufficed in this case as well, had the climber been wearing shorts. "Since I have been the commander for the last three years, we have not had an incident like this happen," said Olsen.

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