Woman rescued from Summit Co. cliff | VailDaily.com
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Woman rescued from Summit Co. cliff

Nicole Formosa
Mark Fox/Summit DailySummit County Rescue Group members Brian Taylor and Tim Schlough rappel down Mount Royal with an injured hiker Wednesday night.
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FRISCO – Search and Rescue volunteers spent more than five hours rescuing an injured woman from a 1,200-foot cliff on the side of Mount Royal Wednesday night.

Betty Whyel, of LaGrange, Ohio, was hiking down the popular route in Frisco with two friends on Wednesday evening when they lost track of the trail. Whyel fell 30 feet off a ridge and was stopped by a ledge, Summit County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Paulette Horr said.

She appeared to have multiple fractures and lost a lot of blood, Horr said.

Summit County Rescue Group was called at about 6 p.m., and a team of four rescuers scaled 1,200 to 1,300 feet up the mountain to reach the patient, which took about an hour, said rescuer Brian Taylor.

They stabilized Whyel as best as possible, and with the seriousness of her condition, tried to figure out the quickest way to get her down the steep, rocky mountain.

“It was just real scary because a lot of things were happening really fast. That’s when the weather started going south. We were getting reports of lighting at Copper Mountain,” Taylor said.

They ended up rigging an anchor system, placing Whyel in a litter ” a titanium gurney-like contraption ” and rappelling 1,300 feet in a high-angle vertical descent.

It was dark out by then and even with floodlights shining on the mountain from the rec path below, obstacles were difficult to see.

“It was very technical going down. There was loose rock falling all around us. It was nightfall, we were doing this in the dark,” said Taylor.

The evacuation took until about 11 p.m. with 30 rescuers on-scene to help with the operation, said Summit Rescue Group volunteer Dan Burnett.

A nurse at Summit Medical Center declined to release Whyel’s condition on Thursday.

In an interesting twist to Wednesday’s rescue, one of Whyel’s friends who reported the incident, Paul Findley, was arrested on an outstanding failure to pay a warrant police discovered while interviewing him.

Findley had bonded out of jail as of Thursday afternoon.

Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-4629, or at nformosa@summitdaily.com.


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