Grand County Search and Rescue responded to a climbing accident at Castleton Tower, also known as Castle Rock, at 3:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 20.
Tierney O’Sullivan, 22, of Roswell, Georgia, was climbing the Kor-Ingles route on the tower when she fell approximately 20 feet.
She injured her legs, arms and hip area when she made impact with the cliff face and was unable to move.
The climber’s party stayed with her and assisted in communication with rescue personnel. Her climbing party also held the belay and supported her until rescue and medical personnel arrived.
Rescuers were able to wrap up the recovery in the “wee hours of the morning” of March 21. She was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colo. for medical care.
This is the fifth mission of the year for Grand County Search and Rescue, which had a record-breaking year in 2012 with a total of 108 missions.
Search and Rescue had no calls in January and February this year. The first call of the year was responding to a hiker who had a ground level fall at Corona Arch on March 2.
“That’s five in a little more than 2.5 weeks,” said Search and Rescue commander Jim Webster. “Last year’s record-setting year started with zero in January and one in February, then the floodgates opened with 14 in March.”
This is the second climbing accident that Search and Rescue has responded to this year. The first was a fatality at Teardrop Arch in the Pritchett Canyon area on Wednesday, March 13.
Search and Rescue responded to a similar fall with injuries at the same location on Castleton Tower on Oct. 27, 2012.
“There have been just a handful of rescues up there requiring our assistance over the years,” Webster said. “Bottom line – usually climbers self-rescue.”
Of the 108 missions in 2012, only five involved local residents.
Grand County also set the record number of search and rescues in the
state for 2012. Utah County came in second with 98.
“Grand County is either the busiest, or right behind Utah County,” Webster said.