Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Arizona: Swiss Hiker Rescued After Getting Trapped in Slot Canyon

A Swiss tourist, 35, was rescued from a remote slot canyon three miles south of Page, AZ on Monday (February 20), after spending three cold nights and two days trapped there.


The man had rappelled into a Colorado River tributary called Water Holes Canyon, using climbing rope that was too short on Friday (February 18) and was unable to climb back out due to an ankle injury.

Unfortunately, the hiker had no camping equipment with him and suffered severe rope burns as he attempted to climb out with an injured ankle.

To make matters worse, and with no mobile service available in the area, the man had to rely on ropes he found in the canyon to descend further, only to be halted when he ran into a 400-foot drop.

COMMENT: Fortunately for the unprepared hiker, his car was found on Highway 89 after his wife in Zurich reported him as a missing person.

Subsequently, county search and rescue units, as well as sheriff's deputies, dispatched first-responders into the canyon and found him, treated his injury and gave him fluids and warm clothing. After that, he was sent to a local hospital for further treatment.

The Sheriff's Department later reported that 21 responders were involved in the rescue effort, requiring 215 staff hours, six vehicles, two UTVs and a helicopter.

As I have mentioned in a number of postings involving climbers, hikers, etc. getting themselves into trouble by not being prepared, it is never a good idea to hike rigorous terrain or climb alone.

If one insists on going solo, they should be prepared for the worst, which should minimally include protective clothing, survival tools, renting a satellite mobile for the trip and/or purchasing a personal locator beacon (PLB) that can be activated from virtually anywhere.

Typically, PLBs cost roughly US$250-300, but in most cases are worth every penny when it comes to surviving an emergency.


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