‘Extremely Lucky’ Kentucky Climber Survives Fall Into Deadly Crevice in Red River Gorge

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

At approximately 3 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28, the Wolfe County Search and Rescue team received a distress call. The caller explained that a climber was attempting to descend a 30-foot crevice in Red River Gorge, Kentucky when he lost his footing and fell.

Thankfully, the man was relatively close to the bottom when he lost his grip on the rock face. Rather than plummeting the full 30 feet into the crevice, he fell only 5 feet. He was unable to climb back up on his own and was likely a bit rattled. Other than that, however, he was completely unharmed.

The climber’s sure footing saved him once again after the fall. He was able to catch himself at the bottom of the crevice at Chimney Top Overlook rather than stumbling over the 200-foot cliff mere inches away, a plunge that tragically claimed the lives of so many before him.

In fact, the Wolfe County Search and Rescue team said the particular crevice and cliff in Red River Gorge from which they rescued the daring climber is the location with the highest fatality rate in the entire hiking area.

Using a pulley system, WCSART lowered a crewman into the crevice. From there, the rescuer assisted the man in climbing back to the top of the crevice with the help of a harness and rope.

Kentucky Rescue Team Shares Successful Climber Rescue

Following the successful rescue mission, the team posted the details on social media. In the post, they reminded those who might attempt the crevice at Chimney Top Overlook in the future that the climber was incredibly fortunate.

“We are happy to report the male subject was uninjured from his fall,” they wrote. “Chimney Top overlook has the highest fatality rate of any other location in the Red River Gorge area. This subject was extremely lucky he didn’t continue to fall out the side of this crevice which is approximately 200 [feet] high.”

Fellow Facebook users soon flooded the comments of the post with messages of praise and gratitude toward the brave members of the Wolfe County Search and Rescue team. “Great job. Y’ALL are heroes without the capes,” one user wrote.

“You make it look effortless. But the risks you take to save your fellow man aren’t taken lightly. Thank you for what you do!” another said. “I’m in awe of what you’re able to do. I wish people would think twice before putting your lives in jeopardy,” added a third.

According to their website, WCSART is an all-volunteer crew willing to risk their lives to save others. “Our all-volunteer team specializes in responding to lost climber and hiker incidents and technical, high-angle roped rescue in the rugged terrain found throughout Eastern Kentucky.”