MOAB, Utah (ABC4) – The Grand County Sheriff’s Office is asking hikers to choose routes that match their physical capabilities to avoid tragedies.
Most recently, the Grand County Search and Rescue Team (GCSAR) rescued a 26-year-old Idaho man after he was stranded in Big Bend, halfway up a 330 feet tall Wingate Sandstone Wall. The man was attempting to “free solo” climb, which is climbing without ropes or harnesses.
The man was able to contact 911, but crews had to send a medical air transport to successfully retrieve him off the cliff. GCSAR says this was the 103 incidents they’ve had this year of stranded hikers. Officials are urging the public to plan hikes and climbs carefully — choosing only routes that truly match their physical abilities.
“The importance of thorough planning before embarking on an adventure cannot be overemphasized,” GCSAR says. “Research and knowledge of the terrain can make the difference between an enjoyable adventure and tragedy.”
Most recently, search and rescue teams in Washington County are seeing more hikers getting lost due to incorrect data found on Google maps and online.
“A lot of people will look online look at a trail, think it’s great and then get there, start at the trailhead and within a mile the trailhead disappears,” says Sergeant Darrell Cashin with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. “It goes off five or six different directions and they end up getting lost, or not having enough supplies.”
Officials say instead of relying on applications or the internet, hikers should keep a local map and let loved ones know where they’re headed and how long they’ll be away.
When preparing for a hike, authorities strongly remind the public to keep enough clothing, food, and water and most importantly, ensure the trail you’re heading to is safe and aligned with your physical abilities.