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Three climbers rescued from Yosemite's El Capitan

December 14, 2010 |  3:06 pm

A military helicopter was brought in to assist Yosemite Search and Rescue team members with rescuing three climbers from the wall of El Capitan. Three rock climbers were rescued Monday afternoon from the wall of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park, culminating a two-day rescue operation that involved more than 30 rescue personnel.

Sarah Land, from Oakhurst, Calif., Walker Mackey, 25, and Rio Mackey, 23, both from Boulder, Colo., were lowered down the 7,563-foot granite monolith after spending the night on the wall of El Capitan. Land, 24, sustained injuries Sunday when an approximately 200-pound rock dislodged and struck her during their ascent.

The Yosemite Emergency Communication Center received a call from Land Sunday morning asking for assistance after she was injured. At first, she and her companions attempted to finish the climb, but a few hours later Land called back and asked Park Rangers for help. With daylight dwindling, rangers were unable to bring in a helicopter or initiate the rescue and the trio were forced to spend the night on the wall.

Dwindling weather conditions, including fog covering Yosemite Valley and impending snowfall at the higher elevations, made completing the rescue mission on Monday imperative. The Army National Guard dispatched a Chinook helicopter to Yosemite Valley to help in the efforts.

Once rescue personnel were transported to the top of El Capitan they were able to assist the climbers, lowering them to the base, where Land boarded a California Highway Patrol helicopter and was flown to El Capitan Meadow where she was transported out of Yosemite Valley.

-- Kelly Burgess
Twitter.com/latimesoutposts

Photo: A military helicopter was brought in to assist Yosemite Search and Rescue team members with rescuing three climbers from the wall of El Capitan. Credit: Kari Cobb / National Park Service

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