Four-hour Vail rescue removes suicidal woman from backcountry cliff
Emergency crews from five agencies worked together Monday to pull a suicidal woman off an 80-foot ledge a mile and a half above Vail on Red Sandstone Road.
“I’m thankful that this incident had a safe resolution as our crews were facing a number of hazards, which included cold temperatures, steep icy slopes and falling rock,” Vail Fire Chief Mark Novak said in a statement.
According to information from the town of Vail, crews were called out at 12:45 p.m. Monday, when they received a report about a suicidal woman trapped on an 80-foot cliff a mile and a half above Vail on Red Sandstone Road, also called Piney Road.
The cliff was across the canyon from Red Sandstone Road. Once the woman was located, crews had to descend 400 feet to the bottom of the canyon, cross Red Sandstone Creek and then climb several hundred feet to make voice contact. Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies were able to talk to the woman from a distance and convince her to move away from the ledge.
A member of Vail Mountain Rescue climbed above the woman and then rappelled down the cliff face to her. Once the victim was off the ledge, crews from the Vail Fire Department and Vail Mountain Rescue used a rope system to lower her to the bottom of the canyon.
Crews helped the woman climb out of the canyon.
Because access was difficult and the climb was technical, the rescue took four hours.
There have been 10 suicides in Eagle County this year, according to coroner Kara Bettis. There were 17 in 2018.
Crews from the Vail Police Department, the Vail Public Safety Communication Center and Eagle County Paramedic Services also assisted.
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