Seattle man rescued Tuesday after long fall Sunday on Cannon Mountain

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Photo by Craig Gyselinck

A 36-year-old Seattle man was rescued on Cannon Mountain Tuesday evening after suffering serious injuries in a fall he estimated at 400 feet.

Kent Sisson of Chelan County Search and Rescue said Ryan Cairnes fell while descending the mountain Sunday nine miles southwest of Leavenworth.

He is in stable condition at Central Washington Hospital with fractures to his neck, right knee and scapula, as well as rib injuries.

His mother in Pennsylvania reported him missing Monday about 2 p.m.

After a deputy found Cairnes’ vehicle at the Stuart Lake Trailhead late Monday afternoon, a helicopter crew, dealing with 40 mile-per-hour winds, went up Tuesday morning and spotted tracks in the snow on the west side of the mountain.

Rescue personnel were then inserted in the area, following the tracks until they disappeared.

As darkness set in, the two-man crew headed back toward the trailhead and found Cairnes struggling on the trail.

He told his rescuers he had sheltered in place after his fall but on Tuesday tried to make his way down, despite his injuries.

Cairnes said before his fall he was doing fine coming down the mountain until he encountered a boulder field at about the 5,500-foot elevation and had to alter his course.

He said he slipped on what he thinks was ice and began sliding uncontrollably down the slope, bouncing off boulders and over ledges. He believes the gear he was carrying helped cushion his fall.

His backpack stayed intact during the fall and he was able to use his sleeping bag to stay warm overnight.

He had to leave the backpack and sleeping bag behind as he began making his way down the hill, using a branch to support his injured knee.