Climbers rescued after being stranded in Little Cottonwood Canyon

Local News

(Courtesy of Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue)

LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON, Utah (ABC4) – Two climbers were rescued after they were stranded during their descent in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SLCOSAR) says the climbers were attempting to climb “The Thumb,” a classic, multi-pitch buttress feature. The rescue took place late Saturday night around 12:30 a.m., with two mountain teams working mostly in the dark.

Officials say trouble ensued when the climbers, who began their descent in the dark, became disoriented and found themselves “cliffed out” or stuck while connected to a rappel line. The hikers were also unfamiliar with the natural terrain surrounding the climb. The stranded hikers used their cell phones, which were low on battery, to contact authorities for help.

The duo did not have headlamps, food or water and were wearing very light clothing at the time. Search and rescue crews located the climbers using their cell phone GPS location.

A helicopter from the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) assisted in the search. The first attempt to extricate the climbers was unsuccessful after visual and voice contact could not be confirmed. Eventually, the helicopter was able to spot the climbers and send out a correct GPS location.

The entire rescue took about eight hours. The hikers were safely off the mountain by 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

“While autumn can be a fantastic time to climb in the Wasatch, the days are shorter, nights are dark and cold and the weather can be unforgiving,” says SLCOSAR members. “SLCOSAR encourages everyone to be prepared with the proper equipment and knowledge of the route and time required to complete it.”

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