PORT ANGELES — Emergency personnel with County Fire District No. 2 rapelled down a slippery ravine to a stranded and injured hiker at Sol Duc Falls during a difficult, hours-long rescue.
The man, Josh Reciert, 30, of Lynnwood, was transported to Olympic Medical Center at 3 a.m. Saturday and later sent to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he was listed in satisfactory condition Saturday afternoon.
At about 5:36 p.m. Friday, Reciert and his wife were hiking the trail at Sol Duc Falls when he walked out onto a rocky area just above the cascading water, said Mike DeRousie, assistant chief of Fire District No. 2.
At that location, the Sol Duc fans into two channels, crashing 50 feet into a narrow chasm where the sun rarely shines.
While out on the rocks, Reciert slipped and “was swept down the waterfall, went under a log and down another waterfall, finally pulling himself up out of the river,” DeRousie said.
Reciert was located about 70 feet down a “very steep embankment 0.8 miles from the trail-head,” DeRousie said.
“The patient was caught on a little landing down there right by the river.”
The man was hiking with other couples at the time and a retired emergency medical technican (EMT) who provided information to 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers, DeRousie said.
Clallam 2 EMTs and a Paramedic were dispatched and arrived on scene with medical gear and some high-angle rescue equipment.
They immediately sent high-angle-trained EMT Nate Thompson down to Reciert with space blankets, other blankets and some medical equipment to record his vital signs.
“We were fortunate [Thompson] brought his gear when he came up there and it is a good thing he did,” DeRousie said.
It was a difficult journey to reach Reciert, DeRousie said.
“It was moss and loose dirt and there was about 30 feet that it went straight down,” he said
After checking Reciert’s vital signs, which were satisfactory, Thompson’s biggest concern was keeping the waterlogged man warm, DeRousie said.
Olympic National Park rangers arrived with more rescue equipment, including portable lighting from the county emergency operations center, and Park Ranger Brian Bell lowered a sleeping bag and a camp stove down to Thompson to keep Reciert warm, DeRousie said.
Thompson removed Reciert’s clothes and was able to place him in the sleeping bag, gave him hand-warmers and heated up some water to give him.
“That kept him alive,” DeRousie said.
Olympic Mountain Rescue of Bremerton was contacted to extricate Reciert, with Airlift Northwest placed on standby for possible transport.
Olympic Mountain Rescue personnel rigged a litter basket, descended down the embankment and the rest of the crew pulled them all up.
Once back up the embankment, park rangers placed a wheel under the litter basket and wheeled the patient back to the trail head and a waiting ambulance.
No one on the extrication team was hurt.
The rescue was a “great job done by all,” DeRousie said.
Reporter Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or email@example.com.