Young Rock Climber Falls At Box Canyon

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An 11-year-old Valley boy suffered fractures of the skull and cheekbone Saturday when he slipped and fell while rock climbing at the bottom of Box Canyon on Christopher Creek.

Matthew Reed of Fountain Hills had been hiking with his father, Dennis Reed, along with a few brothers and friends, in the canyon west of the R-Bar-C Boy Scout Camp.

Following the boy's 15- to 20-foot fall, the elder Reed hiked several miles to Camp Tontozona to call for emergency assistance, leaving his son in the care of the other hikers, according to Sgt. Terry Hudgens of the Gila County Sheriff's Department.

The Christopher/Kohls Ranch Fire Department responded and, in turn, called the sheriff's department for additional rescue resources. Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Squad personnel also responded and assisted.

The boy was roped about 500 feet up the canyon wall, carried out to the Box Canyon parking lot, and transported by ambulance to a waiting helicopter in Camp Tontozona. He was first flown to Payson Regional Medical Center, then to the Phoenix Children's Hospital.

"For the time we were in contact with him, the boy was conscious," Hudgens said. "The medic at the scene suspected a fractured skull ... and when they got him into (PRMC), they did a CAT scan and confirmed that he did have a cranial fracture. That's when they decided to fly him down to the Children's Hospital.

"Where he fell from is where we do most of our rescues in Box Canyon," Hudgens said. "The same rock, the same cliff, and they all land in the same spot. It's one of those things where people are supposed to use good sense, but don't."

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