A park manager monitors the rescue progress. The inset shows the approximate location of the fallen man and his companion (in helmet). Just to the left of the rock climbers is a 20 metre cliff

Climber fall down cliff at Potholes

Efforts involved over 36 rescue workers from throughout the Sooke region

Sooke Fire and Rescue received a call in the mid-afternoon on Wednesday, May 21, alerting them to a possible “rope rescue” at the TLC-owned area of the Potholes.

At the old ruined lodge behind a fenced off area with “Danger — No Entry” signs posted, two rope climbers (one male, one female) met with a not-so-pleasant life experience. According to Fire Chief Steve Sorensen, the 25-year old male climber’s “rope broke as he was climbing back up possibly cut by sharp rocks. He slid part way until his feet hit something then he tumbled over and fell to the ground. Approximately 50 to 60 feet we estimate.”

The female sustained no injuries.

The man at the bottom of the cliff was injured.

“Broken arm, hip injury and lacerations,” listed Sorensen, later adding that the climber also suffered fractured vertebrae.

Because of the difficult terrain, other rescue resources were called in. Sorensen tweeted that they received help from the Langford and Metchosin fire departments, Juan de Fuca Search and Rescue, EHS and RCMP.  In another tweet, Sorensen estimated there were over 36 rescue workers. at the scene. Due to the precarious landing (at the bottom of a cliff), it took the rescue workers several hours to get the man out.

Concerns for possible spinal injuries called for a stretcher rescue. When the Sooke News Mirror was there, rescue workers were contemplating either a carry-out, if a safe route could be determined, or a rope lift. Ultimately, rescue workers opted for the rope lift.

“It was too dangerous to take the person out any other way and the haul up the cliff was deemed the safest and quickest route,” said Sorensen. “A helicopter was considered but enough resources were on scene that this was deemed not necessary.”

Sorensen shared a few final words of wisdom, given that we are now entering the high-traffic season at the Sooke Potholes.

“Take precautions,” he warned. “There are many dangerous areas including cliffs… Cell phones are a good idea, however in many portions of the park, cell phone reception does not work.  If you plan on hiking in the area, let someone know where you are going and (your) expected time of return.”

To climbers anywhere, Sorensen reminds them, “Ropes should be inspected before any use.  If damaged in anyway, they should be taken out of service.” While this sounds obvious, clearly it needs to be re-stated.

And it’s not just hikers who need to take note; swimmers also need to take precautions.

“Watch out for swift dangerous currents,” reminds Sorenson.” We have done more than our share of drownings over the years.”

The TLC campground at the Sooke Potholes will  not be open this year to campers.

Just Posted

Beat the rush: Give the gift of time to the community this holiday season

Volunteer Victoria offers tips for meaningful experiences

Sidney crash involving seniors underscores pedestrian safety issues

Sunday’s collision includes many of the main factors in crashes involving pedestrians

Morning crashes still causing delays for commuters

Three-vehicle crash on Highway 1 still causing congestion

No last minute reprieve for Sooke’s Tin Grotto

Sooke council sticks to its guns regarding “the eyesore” on Otter Point Road

Ocean swim challenge shines spotlight on Crystal Pool plight

Ultra-marathon swimmer sends tongue-in-cheek invite to Victoria council

VIDEO: Ron MacLean says he doesn’t believe former co-host Don Cherry is racist

Sportsnet fired Cherry on Nov. 11, two days after controversial on-air comments during ‘Coach’s Corner’

12 Sooke events to get you into the holiday spirit

From a Santa parade to classicial music, Sooke has it all

B.C. woman puts call out for 10,000 personal, heartfelt Christmas cards for the homeless

Christmas Card Collective enters into third year of making spirits bright

No turn signals, double-parking among top concerns for B.C. drivers: poll

Two-thirds of B.C. drivers said that not using turn signals was their biggest pet peeve

1 dead, 2 seriously injured in crash with elk on Hwy. 18 in Cowichan

North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP were called to the scene at about 8 p.m. Tuesday night

Man accused in fatal Shuswap church shooting also charged with arson

Parmenter family home badly damaged by fire a month before killing

‘Our culture is not a religion,’ Indigenous educator tells B.C. Supreme Court in case of smudging at school

Mother also gave evidence Tuesday in Nanaimo courtroom, case continues Wednesday

B.C. man who killed Belgian tourist near Boston Bar gets life in prison, no parole until 2042

Sean McKenzie pleaded guilty to second-degree murder of 28-year-old Amelie Christelle Sakkalis

Trudeau to take sober approach to unveiling new cabinet for minority mandate

Liberals survived a bruising campaign that diminished Trudeau’s stature as a champion of diversity

Most Read