Man survives 80-foot fall off Little Si rock wall

by: Deborah Horne Updated:

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NORTH BEND, Wash. - A 32-year-old Seattle man was surrounded by King County search and rescue volunteers as he was brought on a stretcher out of the woods of Little Si Mountain.  Other climbers and hikers watched as the rescuers worked to stabilize him.

"And we seen search and rescue people around somebody laying on the ground and had a blanket on him," said William Gerard, a hiker from Stanwood. "And you could see the ropes they used to climb came right to that person."

Eyewitnesses told sheriff's deputies how the man fell.  He was climbing at about 11 Sunday morning with a friend who acted as his belayer, working to secure the rope. But something went wrong and the man plunged more than 80 feet.

"He fell and then hit a ledge and then hit another ledge and then rolled down the hill from there," said King County sheriff's deputy Josh Sweeney.

The men were climbing the popular "World Wall."  We found numerous photographs on line of a spot rock climbers say is easy to get to and relatively easy to climb. The trail was closed for more than three hours.  The wall is just a mile from the trailhead but it took time to get the man down to safety.

We tried talking to the friend he was with to find out exactly what happened.

"You don't want to talk about it?" asked the reporter. 

 "No, I wouldn't like to," he said, turning away.

"But I mean your friend is going to be alright?" the reporter asked.

"That's what I hear," he replied.

Deputy Sweeney said one thing is certain.

"He's very lucky to be alive in that condition."

The climber was taken to Harborview Medical Center where he is described as being moderately injured.  He is expected to survive.