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Rock climber hurt in fall at state park

TAYLORS FALLS, Minn. -- The St. Croix River cliffs at Taylors Falls in eastern Minnesota nearly claimed a life Monday, July 9, when a 23-year-old Twin Cities man fell while rock climbing, according to the Chisago County sheriff’s office.

Nicholas Walberg was listed in critical condition Tuesday night, according to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, after witnesses told authorities he slipped while attempting to climb the rocky gorge in Interstate State Park on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix.

Girls from a local camp canoeing the St. Croix told their camp counselor they had seen a man fall, said Deputy Derek Anklan of the Chisago County sheriff’s office. “She hiked down to the bottom of the river to make sure and she saw him lying there face-down in the crevice.”

Anklan credits the girls with saving the man’s life, saying even nearby climbers were surprised when rescue boats started showing up, since no one else had witnessed the accident.

“If this group of kids had not seen him fall, we may not have found him,” Anklan said.