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By Deb Hurley Brobst

A climber rescued from Clear Creek Canyon on May 5 is the most recent example of the growing collaboration between the Alpine Rescue Team and the Clear Creek Fire Authority.

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The man was extricated from The Catslab climbing area near Tunnel 5 and transported safely across Clear Creek on a high-line rope system operated by both agencies.

“We’re pretty proud of all the training we’ve done for sure because with Clear Creek Fire Authority and Clear Creek EMS we’ve been practicing with them several times for this,” said Dawn Wilson, spokeswoman for Alpine Rescue.

Wilson said the climber was transported to the hospital by Clear Creek EMS with leg injuries and is expected to be OK.

Wilson said Alpine Rescue received the call at 2:30 p.m., after training most of the day on Loveland Pass.

Because the popular climbing area is known as a spot where people often get in trouble, rock anchors have been embedded into the area to make it easier to set up a rope system to transport injured people across Clear Creek.

Starting about a year ago, Alpine Rescue and the Clear Creek Fire Authority began doing regular training to get the rescue system down.

“We get several of those (calls) a year, and it’s becoming a very popular climbing spot,” Wilson said.

Wilson said in the past if someone was hurt in the area, Alpine Rescue would carry the injured person out along a difficult and narrow trail, putting rescuers at risk.

“So instead of carrying the person out on the really narrow trail, we instead set up a high line,” Wilson said. “We set up this rope system that has anchors in the rock, and within an hour, we gave him pretty much a free ride across the creek right to the ambulance.”

Wilson said the incident was a great reminder that training with other agencies is important. Clear Creek Fire Authority Chief Kelly Babeon agreed.

“It definitely works the way we want it to and planned on,” Babeon said. “I think the biggest thing there is the fire authority is partnering or working together with Alpine Rescue to make our rescues easier and quicker, safer and more efficient.”

Babeon said the joint agency training has recently included swift water rescue training.

“(We’re) just trying to do more and be more proactive, increase our capabilities and at the same time help (Alpine Rescue) to take care of their calls because they’re getting more calls,” Babeon said. “We’re all getting more calls, and we’re going to have to be more diverse with what we’re doing and work together the best we can, which we’re doing.”

Contact Ian Neligh at couranteditor@evergreenco.com, and check www.clearcreekcourant.com for updates and breaking news.