The climber, a 40-year-old man from Stamford, CT, was on the second pitch of Screw and Climaxe when he slipped on thin ice, plummeting below his belayer and coming to rest only 15 feet or so above the ground.
Eight forest rangers, three volunteer rescuers, and a medic carried out a complicated rescue operation in the dark that took roughly four hours, from the time of the initial call to the time the victim was placed in an ambulance.
Forest Ranger Scott van Laer was driving back to Ray Brook from another incident — a climber had fainted in the Trap Dike on Mount Colden — when he got a call at about 4:30 on Saturday afternoon. He heard screaming in the background.
“We knew it was serious, it wasn’t a sprained ankle,” van Laer said. “We knew we had to get there as soon as possible.”