More than two dozen rescuers were involved in saving a climber who fell more than 7.5 metres inside a cave in the Okanagan on Monday.
The 50-year-old woman’s head and upper body were injured in the fall north of Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park, and she was taken to hospital in stable condition after a rescue that took more than seven hours, Randy Brown of Penticton Search and Rescue said.
The woman and two friends, all from the Lower Mainland, were already about 10 metres down into the cave when she fell, rescuers said. She was discovered about 18 metres below the entrance.
Brown said his team was called to the climbing area at 11:36 a.m., and when they arrived on scene it was clear they’d need help from cave-rescue specialists.
Nine volunteers from Alberta/B.C. Cave Rescue Service were flown in from across the province to help with the rescue, joining a team of about 20 rescuers already on site.
It took until 7 p.m. to retrieve the woman and airlift her to a waiting ambulance.
“This was an interesting challenging for us,” cave rescuer Doug Munroe said. “There’s a lot of loose rock in this cave, so a very significant hazard to everybody moving through.”
The caves in the area have become more popular in recent years as adventurers share their exploits online, Munroe said.
He said the rescued climber and her friends should have been better prepared, and he urges anyone interested in caving to do their homework.
“If you want to go caving, join a caving club,” Munroe said.