Climber with spinal injury winched to cliff ledge next to Tasmania’s Totem pole
The Totem Pole lures climbers to test their skills and luck. (ABC News: Peter Curtis, file photo)
A climber has been plucked to safety after he suffered spinal injuries near the notorious Totem pole in Tasmania’s south.
- A roping expert was used to winch the injured climber 45 metres to a cliff edge
- The man was then carried 200 metres across a rough cliff top to a helicopter
- The 65-metre-tall dolerite Totem Pole spikes out of the sea at Cape Hauy
The 26-year-old climber was hurt while crossing from the Totem Pole back to Cape Hauy on the Tasmanian coast.
The man suffered a spinal injury and was eventually lifted out by helicopter, after being winched by rescuers to a cliff ledge.
The helicopter hovered near the cliff top to winch up the climber after he was brought to the top. (Supplied: Tasmania Police)
Senior Constable Chris Williams said that at about 8:00pm on Monday, police from Marine and Rescue Services, and paramedics from Ambulance Tasmania responded to a report of the injured climber.
“Due to the remote location of the injured man, the Westpac Rescue Helicopter winched a paramedic and police rescue crewman to the patient,” he said.
The climber suffered a spinal injury when he was crossing from the Totem Pole to Cape Hauy. (Supplied: Tasmania Police)
“An assessment was conducted by the crew, and the safest option to retrieve the patent was with a team of search and rescue roping specialists.
“The roping specialist worked through the night hauling the injured man by hand, 45 metres from his location to a ledge.
“He was then carried 200 metres over rough, steep, scrubby, and exposed cliff top, to the Cape Hauy lookout, where he was winched to the helicopter.
“The height of the cliffs, strong winds and darkness made this a very challenging and technical rescue, with 18 winches conducted to insert crew to the location, and retrieve the man up the cliff and into the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.”
The man was transported to the Royal Hobart Hospital in a stable condition.
The Totem Pole is a notoriously dangerous route, with a number of climbers injured on the 65-metre-tall column over the years.
Paul Pritchard nearly died trying to climb the Totem Pole in 1998, and 18 years later he returned and successfully conquered the slender sea stack on Tasmania’s east coast.