WEBER COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – On Monday afternoon, Weber County Search and Rescue responded to a call for two stranded hikers on steep terrain at the Ben Lomond trails. Today, one of the rescuers has some safety tips for other hikers who are getting ready to take advantage of the good weather and even better trails.
Warm weather means more people out on hiking trails. Sadly, it also means more people getting lost.
“If you do end up calling for help, you’re out in the wilderness,” Lt. Mark Horton says. “The response is not going to be 10 or 15 minutes.” Horton heads Weber County Search and Rescue, which is a program under the Weber County Sheriff’s Office. He wants hikers to be prepared should they find themselves needing to call for help, as was the case with two hikers on Monday afternoon.
The two male hikers found themselves stranded on Ben Lomond. According to Weber County Search and Rescue, “Their adventures took them down the back side of the mountain into some steep terrain. They realized that they could not make it back up the mountain and called for help.”
Horton leads the team that rescued the two men. He tells ABC4 it could happen to anyone, and now that more people are heading out to explore Utah’s trails, there are a few things to keep in mind to stay safe.
“Be prepared,” Horton states. “Take some extra water. Take some extra food. Yes, it’s getting warm, but still take a jacket.”
Horton says that’s not all hikers should take with them. “It doesn’t take a whole lot of extra gear to just to have enough to spend the night even though you’re not planning on it. You’re talking maybe one or two pounds of more gear.” He explains some of that extra gear should be an emergency blanket and something for starting a fire.
Before hitting the trail, Horton says it’s also good for hikers to plan exactly where they’re going, and to share that plan with someone who can check in on them.
He advises hikers to take a phone as well. This isn’t just to call in an emergency, but to also use the GPS functions to tell rescuers where the hikers are located, should they need to be rescued.
“If we know where you’re at that takes half of it out for us,” he explains. “All we have to do is the rescuing part, then we don’t have to do a whole lot of the searching.”
The two hikers who became stranded on Monday knew their location when they called in for help. That allowed Horton’s team to rescue the two men in about an hour and a half.
Horton tells ABC4 that many search and rescue teams have seen an increase in rescue missions over the last year due to the pandemic. He says people are restricted from traveling and are instead exploring Utah’s trails. He encourages them to get outside and continue to explore the state, but to do it safely.
NOTE: The photo is from the rescue mission on Monday. Courtesy: Weber County Search and Rescue.