On June 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm, the Alpine Rescue team along with members of Big Sky Search and Rescue, and a Gallatin County Sheriff’s Deputy, were conducting scheduled training exercises at House Rock on the Gallatin River near mile marker 62 of Highway 191. A vehicle approached the deputy near the pull-off at this location and the man told the deputy that his girlfriend had been involved in a climbing accident nearby, falling 25’ and injuring her arm and back.
The reporting party identified the location as Black Line Buttress, a popular rock climbing destination located in the Canyon section of Gallatin County approximately ¼ mile from the training location. The SAR team located on the East side of the river responded immediately, arriving at the victim’s location 11 minutes later. The remaining SAR team staged at the Lava Lake parking lot to meet up with additional Big Sky SAR and Big Sky Fire Department personnel who were arriving with additional rescue gear. Additional SAR responders left the staging area arriving approximately 18 minutes later with those additional medical supplies.
The victim, a 24 year old female visiting from Maine, had suffered a badly broken arm and a back injury. SAR and Big Sky Fire Department personnel treated those injuries, immobilized the victim and transported her down the mountain to the staging area where Summit air was standing by. The victim was then transferred to the care of Summit Air personnel and flown to Bozeman Deaconess Hospital in Bozeman for further treatment.
According to the reporting party, the victim and he were not very familiar with the area they were climbing and were unaware that the repel they were attempting required two separate repels. The Sheriff’s office reminds everyone to always climb with a companion, check your gear, and familiarize yourself with the area you are climbing.