Update, 9 a.m. Thursday

LEAVENWORTH — Emergency crews rescued an injured climber off of Mount Stuart late Wednesday night. High temperatures delayed initial rescue attempts, which began Tuesday night after the climber called-in for help.

The woman, 23-year-old Lucile Townley of Carnation, was struck by a falling rock, causing her to fall 20 feet, said Rich Magnussen with Chelan County Emergency Management. She suffered a fractured arm and leg, as well as a head injury.

She contacted authorities for assistance about 10 p.m. Tuesday. The accident occurred about the 9,000-foot level on the North Ridge Route, Magnussen said.

A hoist-capable helicopter from Naval Base Whidbey Island attempted to rescue Townley from the mountain Tuesday night but wasn’t able to due to her location near the summit, Magnussen said.

The helicopter crew also wasn’t able to reach her early Wednesday because of wind and high temperatures.

“The hotter it is, the less lift you have in the air,” Magnussen said. He added the blades don’t get enough “bite” in the thin, high-elevation air.

A four-person mountain rescue team was flown near the mountain by the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office’s helicopter and was with Townley when Magnussen spoke to The World at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. The team worked to lower her 1,000 feet onto a glacier that would serve as a more favorable pickup location for the helicopter, Magnussen said.

Later Wednesday, two more mountain rescue members, including a medic, were flown in to assist with the rescue. This time, they were transported by a helicopter owned by Chelan County Fire District 1.

The two new rescuers set up on the glacier in preparation for the first rescue team and the injured climber. Magnussen explained the original four rescuers didn’t expect to operate on a glacier and the new rescuers took extra snow equipment.

By 4 p.m. Wednesday, the four-person team had lowered the woman 300 feet, Magnussen said. A Navy helicopter hoisted Townley to safety at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, transporting her to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. 

Townley is in "satisfactory condition," according to the hospital.

The Mount Stuart incident was one of four rescue calls to emergency management since Monday.

Another climber fell on Mount McCausland, north of Stevens Pass on the border of Chelan and Snohomish counties, and suffered a fractured hip and cuts to the face, Magnussen said.

The injured climber was on the 5,741-foot mountain with a partner, who wasn’t injured. The two were found by a third climber, who signaled for help about 7 a.m. Wednesday. The injured climber was hoisted from the area by a King County Sheriff’s Office helicopter and flown to a hospital. His partner hiked out.

Earlier on Tuesday, a mother and daughter were hiking on 5,801-foot Bryant Peak, roughly 14 miles northwest of Lake Wenatchee, when about 5 p.m. the mother showed signs of heat exhaustion and couldn’t exit the area on her own, Magnussen said. A helicopter crew from Naval Base Whidbey Island hoisted her out.

Also on Tuesday, a 29-year-old Shoreline man was airlifted from Gunsight Peak near Stehekin after falling Monday and possibly fracturing his ankle, Magnussen said.

World staff writer Luke Hollister contributed to this report.

Pete O’Cain: 664-7152

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