Guy's Thumb Saved After 80-Foot Yosemite Drop

Rangers rescue man in time for appendage to be reattached
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2011 9:52 AM CDT
The climber's thumb bounced 80 feet down El Capitan before landing on a small ledge.   (AP Photo/National Geographic Channel, Rebecca Harrison)

(Newser) – After a season of untimely deaths at Yosemite comes an amazing survival story—starring a thumb. A climber was scaling the park's El Capitan granite monolith Monday afternoon when he fell, causing a climbing rope to sever his right thumb and send it bouncing down the rock face, the Los Angeles Times reports. Luckily, the severed digit landed on a small ledge 80 feet below, where the climber's buddy retrieved it.

Rangers suspended by rope from a helicopter managed to reach the climbers and get the injured man—along with his thumb—to the hospital in time for it to be reattached. "This was an incredibly technical and complex rescue mission with a lot of inherent risk," their commander says, according to the National Park Service website. "I was relieved, and thrilled, that this ended successfully."

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