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FILE - A rock climber suffered a severe ankle injury Friday when he fell about 40 feet, according to rescue crews.

SANDY — A rock climber suffered a severe ankle injury Friday when he fell about 40 feet, according to rescue crews.

The man was climbing Granite Mountain, about a mile up Little Cottonwood Canyon, when a piece of his climbing gear apparently malfunctioned and he fell approximately 40 feet, according to Unified Fire Authority spokesman Keith Garner.

The fall was broken when the slack on the man's rope finally tightened. But that also swung him into the mountain, where he "smacked his leg against the rock wall," Garner said.

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The two friends who the man was climbing with were able to lower him down to a ledge where other climbers assisted until rescue crews could arrive. Unified fire crews and Salt Lake County Sheriff Search and Rescue personnel were called about 10:45 a.m.

By 11:15 a.m., crews were able to hike to the injured man. Garner said rescuers were forced to put a tourniquet on the man's leg due to the extent of injury to his ankle and leg. They then got him loaded into a stretcher, and a Life Flight helicopter carried him off the mountain.

The helicopter continued up mountain to the Snowbird parking lot, where it landed and the patient was loaded inside the helicopter and taken to a local hospital by 12:30 p.m. in critical condition, Garner said.