This was a tough one! FD to the rescue!

  • from St. Louis (Missouri, United States)

I received a call from a gentlemen who stated he lost his wedding ring on the side of a very steep hill.   He was a newlywed and they had just moved in their new home on the top of a very steep hill that’s appx 400’ to a River below.   After telling me he can get up and down on this hill, I accepted the challenge.

He lost his ring as he was going down this hill where he slipped and grabbed onto a very small tree sapling and as he slid, his hand also slid down this small sapling pulling his ring off of his hand.   He didn’t see where it landed and was hoping it didn’t roll down the hill further.

When I arrived, he took me to an opening in the trees where I could see the sheer drop on this hill and began second guessing myself but, I agreed to do this and felt that I could.   We climbed down appx 300’, having to use a rappelling rope to help hold us as we descended.

Unbelievably, I found the ring and handed it to him for the ascent to the top.   I’m 63 years old and not a strong as I used to be.   I climbed back up only about 75-100’ before I decided I could go any further.   I was exhausted, cramping, nauseated from the heat and sat down with my foot resting against a very small sapling that was holding me there.  After a brief rest and some water, my attempt to stand and turn was fruitless.  We chatted about possible ways to get me up but it’s just too steep.   I had broken down my Equinox 800 and placed it in his backpack which he was controlling.

We decided to call the local FD who responded complete with EMS.  A crew of 3 climbed down to me with a stokes basket.  They were able to get me into the basket and together with 2 men up on top and 3 men with me, they  put together a block/tackle and hand winched me up this hill to safety.

We were all exhausted and safe.  Having been a first responder for appx 40 years, I never thought I’d be “that” guy.   We all chatted and laughed together after we all rested.   I’ve never been more appreciative of a group of rescuers who came to my aid.   The homeowner apologized over and over to me for “getting me into this predicament”, but I told him it was me that decided to make the climb so I was responsible and not him.  He’s a great guy and I wish him and his new bride all the best.

Would I do it again…probably not but I was glad it was me and not someone else!


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