Chelan County Sheriff Brian Burnett reported that two climbers were rescued from Mount Stuart on Sunday evening and Monday afternoon, Aug. 6-7. One of the subjects suffered life threatening injuries Sunday when a boulder he was leaning against broke free while ascending the West Ridge route of the mountain at approximately 8,500 feet.
Tim Pate, 64-years-old, of Camas, WA fell nearly 50 feet after the large rock dislodged and he careened over a ledge. Pate was found to be unresponsive when his climbing partner, 59-yea-old Jim Schiller of Happy Valley, OR, traversed down the slope to his location. Schiller called 911 at 6:48 p.m. to report the incident and requested a rescue.
Due to Pate’s reported unresponsive state on the mountain, Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) coordinators requested a hoist capable helicopter from Naval Air Base Whidbey Island. A Sheriff’s Office SAR coordinator was able to communicate directly with Schiller via text messaging. Coordinates were obtained for the incident location on the southwest aspect of the mountain.
Pate remained unconscious throughout the rescue response. The Navy Blackhawk helicopter was over the scene by 8:45 p.m. and successfully hoisted Pate into the aircraft which was staffed by a Navy medic. Pate was determined to be in very critical condition and was expedited to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Schiller was left on the mountain hoping to descend on Monday. The Sheriff’s Office SAR personnel received a phone call from Schiller early Monday morning. He was requesting assistance descending the slope. Schiller advised he was exhausted and felt he was unable to safely make trek by himself.
Initially, SAR coordinators planned to insert Chelan County Mountain Rescue personnel below Schiller’s location via helicopter. The team would have had to ascend nearly 1,000 feet to reach him, and then make a decision to ascend or descend the mountain with Schiller.
At 1 p.m. on Monday, it was determined that the Whidbey Island Naval flight crew would be available to respond back to Mount Stuart to extract Schiller via hoist. A Sheriff’s Office deputy who had already been inserted below Schiller’s position would also be hoisted into the aircraft.
Both subjects were successfully removed from the mountain by 3 p.m. and transported to Pangborn Memorial Airport in East Wenatchee. Schiller is in good condition. He stated that Pate was the more experienced climber during their attempt to summit Mount Stuart. Schiller said he was not comfortable descending the mountain by himself after Pate’s accident. The two climbers began their ascent of the mountain on Sunday morning after camping near Ingall’s Lake on Saturday night.
Pate remains in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center. He suffered head, neck, back, and abdominal injuries from the fall.
(Reported by Sergeant Kent Sisson, CCSO)