JOHNSON COUNTY — Tip Top Search and Rescue personnel confirmed a man died after sustaining injuries related to a climbing accident in the Bighorn Mountains this week.
Johnson County Law Enforcement Center received a 911 dispatch July 7 at approximately 2:15 p.m. stating that a climber had fallen on Black Tooth Mountain in the northwest corner of Johnson County.
The reporting individual was the climbing partner of the victim. He stated it had taken approximately 45 minutes for him to climb to the area where he had cellphone reception.
He indicated the victim had sustained head and shoulder injuries during the fall. The climbers were at approximately 12,000 feet.
Due to the victim’s injuries, Casper Life Flight was notified and immediately responded, and Johnson County Search and Rescue ground crews headed into the area.
Upon arrival of life flight in the area, they were able to locate the victim but his location prevented them from landing due to terrain hazards. A second helicopter had been requested from Sublette County Tip Top Search and Rescue. It arrived on scene along with three search and rescue members.
The second helicopter was also unable to land but did drop off two search and rescue personnel as close as possible to the victim. The helicopter continued to transport search and rescue personnel into the field. The first two search and rescue personnel who were dropped off reached the victim after a two-hour climb.
Search and rescue personnel advised due to roughness of the terrain and the darkness that it was not safe for search and rescue personnel to continue climbing. Personnel stayed with the victim and his climbing partner during the night. They administered first aid, but during the night the victim died.
The two search and rescue members and the climbing partner were able to make their way to a safe landing zone and were extracted by helicopter.
It has been determined that the victim will need to be lowered to safe landing zone due to the rugged terrain and location of the victim. It will take highly-trained, experienced, high-angle rescue climbers to be able to achieve this.
Tip Top Search and Rescue from Sublette County will be attempting to do this and are currently assessing and putting together the necessary personnel and equipment.
Their goal is to perform this recovery in a manner to keep the search and rescue personnel safe and free from harm.
Because the victim’s body has not yet been recovered, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office will not release the name of the man.
Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office contributed to the search Tuesday by helping locate the third hiking member of the group.
SCSO coordinated with JCSO to locate the third hiker who was hiking out on his own. A deputy from SCSO was sent to Park Reservoir. The third hiker was waiting for the other hiker. The two were reunited before midnight July 10.