Sam Green/Cortez Journal
A rescue effort ended successfully Tuesday after an equipment problem left a climber dangling by rope about 75 feet above the ground.
Dressed in a red helmet, green pants and a dark sweat shirt, Dan Pauley could be seen hanging from the sandstone cliff face Tuesday above Colorado Highway 145 near Stoner.
The 52-year-old martial artist and firearms instructor had been rappelling from an overhang when his rope jammed, leaving him swinging freely and unable to touch the rock face.
When his legs began to go numb, the experienced climber tied a knot in the rope so he was able to stand up in his harness, shake his arms and maintain blood circulation.
Rescue workers shouted at the man, asking about his water supply.
“I figure dehydration is kind of in the fine print, as far as my problems go,” he shouted back.
Eventually, rescue workers were able to lower additional lines over the cliff, rappel down to Pauley, and clip the man’s harness into another rope.
Rico Fire/Rescue member Mike White held on to Pauley, and the two men were lowered slowly to the ground just as wind gusts began to pick up.
Pauley said the rope slipped up a figure-eight device and jammed, leaving him dangling for about four hours.
“After today, I’m never using this thing again,” he said, holding up the blue metal device.
Other such devices feature protrusions to prevent rope slippage.
Other than numbness in his legs and feet, medics checked out Pauley and said he was not injured. He walked away from the scene in good spirits and was even able to salvage his climbing rope, which he coiled up.
“I feel like I’ve been straddling a barbed-wire fence,” Pauley said.