PAGE, Ariz. — Two hikers are home safely after a quick search and rescue response from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Department.
The call came in about 8:45 p.m. March 12 - two hikers were overdue in Waterholes Canyon, just south of Page, Arizona. The pair began their hike around noon and were unable to make it back to their vehicle by nightfall.
Deputies, with the assistance of a Classic Lifeguard helicopter from Page, found the hikers in the canyon between two different rappels. The hikers were stranded and were unable to move up or down the canyon walls. Neither man had adequate clothing, food or water.
Search and rescue teams arrived shortly after midnight and hiked to the rim above the hikers. A supply kit containing warm clothing, food, water, bivouac sack, hot packs and a radio was lowered to the hikers. Neither man was injured.
Because of the risk involved in a nighttime rescue operation, search and rescue personnel bivouacked on the rim above the hikers until daylight.In the morning, the search and rescue team established artificial anchors and lowered a rescuer to the hikers’ location. The hikers were raised to the rim of the canyon one at a time using a mechanical advantage rope system. Both hikers were evaluated once they reached safety and both refused additional medical care.
Later that day, deputies assisted the Navajo Police Department in rescuing a teenage girl who had been climbing near the same area.
The Coconino County Search and Rescue unit would like to remind hikers entering northern Arizona canyons to be aware of their surroundings and take the appropriate equipment and clothing for the trip.
Some canyons require down climbing or rappelling and hikers should be prepared to ascend sections that they have previously descended. While the temperatures during the day may be warm, once the sun sets, the canyon environment can become cold rapidly. Weather should always be evaluated when entering a canyon. Rain upstream from also can cause dangerous flash flooding in canyons.
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