Hikers rescued after being trapped for 17 hrs

28 December 2022: Highly technical & specialised multi-disciplinary rescue freeing a hiker that was trapped for 17hrs in a cliff side chimney on a remote peak on Nuwerust Farm, Cederberg.

Report from Wilderness Search & Rescue (WSAR): A hiker was safely rescued after a 17-hour ordeal on a remote mountain peak, in which he was trapped in a mountain crack – barely able to breathe.

The two gentlemen had lost their way while hiking near Nuwerust Farm in the Cederberg. They had decided to attempt to descend the peak by climbing down a series of narrow “chimneys” – a mountaineering term used to describe narrow chutes or cracks.

One of the hikers became lodged in a chimney late on Tuesday afternoon and was unable to free himself.

After a sleepless night constricted in the narrow chimney, the men were able to flag down passing rock climbers who alerted the local emergency services.

A WSAR team on board the Western Cape Department of Health EMS / Air Mercy Service (AMS) rescue helicopter were flown to the Cederberg to assist two hikers stuck on a remote peak.

Once on scene, the rescue team had to abseil down to the hikers. The team then assessed the hiker lodged in the chimney, before building a technical rope system to assist them in freeing the stuck hiker.

One of the rescuers noted: “The man was just able to stand on his toes in the bottom of the chimney, but his chest was constricted to the point where he was only able to draw small breaths.”

WSAR teams hauled him up to the ledge above before the patients and team were safely extracted by helicopter.

The patients were flown to a nearby landing zone before being handed over to a waiting medical team for further assessment.

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