'Unprepared' hiker rescued from mountain near Sedona

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(Source: YCSO) (Source: YCSO)
(Source: YCSO) (Source: YCSO)
(Source: YCSO) (Source: YCSO)
(Source: YCSO) (Source: YCSO)

A woman who became lost while hiking has been rescued from a mountain near Sedona.

It took Yavapai County Search and Rescue team members four hours to find the 26-year-old hiker on Sunday.

YCSO spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn says the woman had hiked to a remote area northwest of Devil's Bridge when she realized she was lost and called for help, around 2 p.m.

Crews quickly established that timely ground access to the hiker’s position would be very difficult, so the use of a helicopter was requested. 

A crew from Department of Public Safety (DPS) Ranger Unit was notified and arrived in the vicinity just before 5 p.m. Sunday. The Yavapai County Search and Rescue Back Country Team, trained in technical rescue, was also called out. It took a combination of effort from the Ranger crew and Back Country Team to bring the hiker to safety.

After flying the target area, the hiker was spotted by the Ranger crew on the side of a rock face. A member of the Back Country Team was airlifted to her position so she could be safely secured to a special rig and rescued. Around 6:30 p.m, the hiker was ferried off the mountain to meet an awaiting family member.

“Hiker alone and stuck with no food or water, cell phone battery dying, wearing shorts, shirt and sandals, completely lost and unable to retrace steps, does not want to stray due to possible drop offs hidden by heavy brush.”  Those comments are a synopsis from call notes that Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers logged during a phone call from the hiker.

As YCSO has emphasized so many time in the past, hiking preparedness is a must for anyone venturing out into the rugged wilderness.

The rescued hiker admitted relying on third party unverified information as she attempted to return from the area around Devils Bridge.

Unfamiliarity with your surroundings and lack of researching such an adventure can and has been deadly for some in the past.

YCSO says this hiker wisely called for help and remained stationary when she realized she was lost in very rugged and steep terrain. She was also fortunate her cell phone had sufficient battery time and able to send GPS coordinates. An alternative to alerting others to your plight can be as simple as a toy whistle which can be heard long distances in such topography.

YCSO also offers the following safety advice:

  • -Hiking alone will exponentially increase the risk in terrain such as this. If she had been injured and unable to call for help, a second person could have been her lifeline.
  • -It is important to share your wilderness plans with others who can call when you have not returned based on an agreed timeline.
  • -Make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing. YCSO says this hiker’s clothing was completely inappropriate for the type of terrain. Shorts and sandals only increase the chance of injury in such environments.

There is more information on hiking safety on the U.S. Forest Service website: https://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/safety/safety.shtml

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