Successful evacuation of injured walker from Stairway to Heaven

Today I was part of the team that evacuated an injured walker from high in Wadi Ghalila and I feel fortunate to have witnessed such selfless hard graft and co operation from the large team that completed the task so successfully.

Yesterday (30/1/2011) in the early afternoon a walker took a tumble on a scree slope while descending from the well know Stairway to Heaven in Wadi Ghalila, RAK. He sustained a lower limb injury as well as other knocks and scrapes. He was a member of a well equipped party with experienced leaders and they were able to stabilise him. They decided they would not be able to move him without help so they made a call to a member of the UAE mountaineering community they knew and he inturn rang around. By 5pm that evening there were 20+ mountaineers heading up the mountain to assist.

Impressive splinting skills from Andy

It was decided that because the casualties injuries were not immediately life threatening that an evacuation in the dark was not the best option. Some climbers stayed up with the casualty while the rest descended with the remainder of the walking party. They then gathered together food, water and more equipment, grabbed a couple of hours sleep and then reascended in time to start the evacuation at first light.

First lower
Difficult ground

The ground below the Wadi Ghalila Headwall is steep, broken and uncompromising, it’s very difficult to evacuate an injured person through. To evacuate through ground that a fit able person could ascend in 1.5hrs took 6hrs and 29 people! It is easy to under estimate just how difficult the task was.


The large expert team worked impressively hard throughout the whole task. I can’t recall a better example of teamwork I’ve ever seen and for no other reason than to help a fellow mountaineer.

Well done to all involved today, mission accomplished!

14 thoughts on “Successful evacuation of injured walker from Stairway to Heaven

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  1. I find it very touching, that so many people have turned up to help, dropped whatever they had to do, to come over and help somebody they do not even know!
    Considering this is not part of a regular routine and knowing the difficult terrain, it is quite an achievement that it all went so smoothly.
    It is also reassuring to know that there is a team with the know-how and with the heart on the right place who are prepared to help if needed.
    Wish the injured walker a good recovery.

  2. Well done to all those who worked so hard to help, its good to know if it happend to me or anyone else that people are out there to help.

  3. Congratulations with your successfull evacuation. Well done and nice photographs!!
    Yolanda (guida’s sister)

  4. I was the group leader on Saturday when Cameron fell and fractured his Fib & Tib bones in his lower right leg. It quickly became apparent how serious the situation was, we had a nasty injury to deal with in a remote location on difficult ground. The efficiency and speed with which volunteers came together was astounding. The technical rescue went as smoothly as clockwork, the team worked together as well as any professional mountain rescue team, descending the mountain in remarkable time. I’d like to thank every member personally, some I don’t even know their names, if you read this words can’t express our gratitude for your help.

  5. I want to offer our sincere and deep thanks to all involved in the rescue of Cameron from his family in Australia. Luckily, we didn’t find out about the fall until he was safely in hospital – i can’t think how we would have coped had we known earlier. The care and expertise of strangers is incredible. Seeing the photographs of the descent showed clearly the work, professionalism and dedication of every member of the team. I wish I could thank you all individually and I hope you can pass on our message. Thank-you so very much.

    Your photos and this post have helped to put the events in order – we have limited information from so far away! Good to see a grin from Cam – he’s waiting on surgery today to pin the bones back in place.

    With all our best wishes and heartfelt thanks,
    Cam’s brother and sister-in-law, his parents and all his siblings, nieces and nephews

    1. Alison,

      Be worth you knowing that Cameron was a pretty damn good stretcher load. I can promise you that none of us involved would want to swap places with him, being carried off a hill is absolutely no fun, the ride is far from smooth and you give over all control of your destiny to the hands holding you up in the air, it can be scary.

      Cameron helped us in every way he could and was in good spirits all the way down despite the significant injuries the xrays have shown.

      I know everyone involved will wish him a swift recovery and the cyclists amongst us look forward to him joining us again on the Dubai friday morning rides as soon as possible


  6. Alison and family;

    Many thanks for your kind words of thanks.

    Under the circumstances, Cameroon was a real star and as Ian said, he did everything that he could to help us help him off the hill. He showed good humour and considerable bravery throughout and should be commended for this.

    I wish him a speedy recovery and hope that he is back on his bike or in the mountains soon.


  7. Well done to you my friends for your efforts to rescue a fellow Australian. He was a lucky man to have so many dedicated, passionate and experienced climbers nearby to assist. Maybe you should expand to GLOBAL CLIMBING/INTERNATIONAL RESCUE!!!
    Take care.

    1. Hi Shandra

      I should highlight that there were a lot of people involved in the rescue, some from outdoor companies, others from the outdoor industry and others were recreational climbers. All of us were there as volunteers and no company associations were made during the rescue. I think I speak for all involved when I say that we do not want another rescue situation to arise again but if the situation does arise we will be back out there as volunteers.

  8. Hi Cam, So pleased to hear all is well now – you will have to improve your footwork on future climbs. It was great to see the pics ang get an idea of just how hairy it was. Elaine

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