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Fall victim in fair condition

A 19-year-old Pittsburgh man who was rescued from the base of Fish Creek Falls on Tuesday was listed in fair condition at Yampa Valley Medical Center on Thursday morning.

Brian McFadden apparently suffered multiple injuries in a climbing fall.

Privacy laws prohibit the hospital from releasing details of McFadden’s injuries. However, the man told the people who found him Tuesday that he was experiencing pain in an arm, in the area of his collarbone and in his left thigh. He had spent Monday night alone. Nighttime low temperatures were in the mid-50s.

McFadden was found by chance at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. Visitors to the popular waterfall in the Routt National Forest just outside the city limits came upon him sitting with his back against a rock formation at the base of a cliff just inside the mouth of the North Fork of Fish Creek.

The out-of-state visitors called 911 on a cell phone to summon help. The Routt County Sheriff’s Office, Steamboat Fire and Ambulance and volunteers from Routt County Search and Rescue responded.

McFadden was found about 600 yards from a busy parking lot at the Long Lake Trailhead.

Search and Rescue volunteers train for emergencies just like McFadden’s, and have drilled at Fish Creek Falls on the techniques they used to rescue McFadden.

The rope crew brought him to a footbridge over Fish Creek after he was treated at the scene by emergency medical personnel.

They rigged a system of climbing ropes and pulleys that allowed them to ferry him above the rushing, boulder-filled creek to safety. From the bridge, he was taken in a trailer pulled by an all-terrain vehicle to an ambulance in the parking lot.

Although he had been able to carry on a conversation when first discovered, rescue personnel said he was drifting in and out of consciousness during the rescue.

McFadden told people who first discovered him that he had become separated from friends either the afternoon or evening before his mishap. He had seen people in the area earlier Tuesday morning but could not get their attention above the noise of the rushing water. People on the scene said McFadden did not appear to have been prepared for rock climbing.

“He had no ropes, no backpack, no nothing,” Stuart Marks of Flagstaff, Ariz., said. “He was wearing long pants and a shirt with a collar.”


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