LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON — A 28-year-old rock climber was flown by medical helicopter early Wednesday to a local hospital after falling about 30 feet.

The man, whose name was not immediately released, was climbing with friends at Gate Buttress, a popular climbing area about a mile up Little Cottonwood Canyon, about 9:35 p.m. Tuesday. The man was using ropes and other climbing gear on the sheer-faced wall when he fell about 30 feet to the base, said Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal.

Investigators did not immediately know Wednesday what caused the man to fall. He suffered head injuries and was believed to have temporarily lost consciousness at one point, Hoyal said.

Although the man was at the cliff base, he landed in a boulder field with rocks the size of cars. Hoyal said it was a very technical rescue for search and rescue crews to safely lower the man off the boulders and carry him out of the area.

The rescue operation was completed about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday. Hoyal said the man was conscious when he was flown to the hospital.

— Pat Reavy