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The City of Portland, Oregon

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NEWS RELEASE 08/18/11: Portland Firefighters Rescue Climber from Site of Recent Rocky Butte Tragedy



August 18, 2011 
6:46 AM


Two men were attempting to rappel down the east side of Rocky Butte around 8:00pm Wednesday night when one of the climbers experienced fatigue and could not get back up to the top.  The climber on top lowered his climbing partner down to a ledge about 50' from the top of the cliff. 

Once it became apparent that the individual could not climb up or down on his own, and with darkness setting in, one man went to get help since neither was carrying a cell phone or wearing helmet lights. 

Around 9:30pm, Portland firefighters from Downtown Portland Fire Station 1 responded to the scene and determined that because of the darkness, it was unsafe to guide the climber up or down on his own climbing abilities. 

Using equipment from Portland Fire's Heavy Rescue truck, firefighters from the High Angle Rope Rescue Team set up climbing equipment and lowered specially-trained firefighters down to rescue the climber.  17 firefighters participated in the two-hour rescue operation and brought climber Daniel Martinek -age 40 - up safely from the east face of Rocky Butte. 

"This rescue took place in the exact location where a 16-year-old boy died two nights ago," said Portland Fire & Rescue Public Information Officer Paul Corah.  "This area is extremely dangerous and Portland Fire urges the community to use extreme caution."

Reports indicate that the climbers' young children were playing near the climbing spot while the individuals were climbing.  This is not a place for children as there is no fence, no roped off area, and no signage to indicate how dangerous this area has been, especially in recent months.  "People could literally walk down the unmarked path and over the edge of the cliff if they are not careful," said Corah. 

At around 11:30pm, both climbers and their children were safely reunited following the rescue.  The climbers indicated that had not heard about the tragedy two nights ago when a 16 year-old boy fell off the butte at that location and later died from his injuries.

Photos courtesy of Dick Harris, Portland Fire & Rescue. 

 Portland Fire & Rescue

 We Respond: Always Ready, Always There

 August 18, 2011


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Add a Comment



August 18, 2011 at 10:19 AM

I agree with Annie. Shouldn't an area that dangerous where people have died at least have a fence or signage to warn people in the area of the cliff?

-Fire Services of Idaho


Lindsay Wochnick

August 19, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Portland Fire & Rescue is currently working on signage on Rocky Butte with ODOT. Thank you for your comments!

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