Hiker Rescued from Humphries Peak Yesterday

April 22nd, 2016 at 4:08 PM

Flagstaff, Arizona – On April 21st at approximately 8:30 AM the Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue responded to a report of a lost hiker on Humphrey’s Peak. The 59 year old male hiker was determined to be off trail at approximately 11,700 foot elevation in an area known as Temptation Gully. The hiker was reported to be cold, tired, disoriented, with some underlying medical conditions.

Search and Rescue personnel hiked into the area and located the hiker at 12:43 AM. After assessing his condition it was determined that the safest route was to hike to the Humphrey’s Saddle and then evaluate the options for evacuation. A second search team hiked to the Humphreys Saddle and prepared to receive the hiker and provide warm drinks, food, and dry clothing.

Coconino_Co_SAR_AZSDue to the hikers fatigue and symptoms of acute mountain sickness an Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) Air Rescue helicopter from Phoenix was requested to evaluate landing at the saddle to pick up the hiker. DPS Air Rescue arrived in the area of the saddle at 3:30 AM and attempted to land but was unable to due to high winds. The decision was made to camp just off the saddle and out of the wind until daylight allowing the hiker time to rest and regain normal body temperature.  The daylight would also offer increased visibility. At 4:15 AM a third search team equipped with a litter and ropes began hiking to the saddle and was prepared to assist the hiker if he became unable to hike out on his own due his symptoms of acute mountain sickness and fatigue.

At approximately 6:00 AM the hiker and the search teams began to hike down the Humphreys Trail. An Arizona Snowbowl Snowcat was dispatched to an area near the ski area boundary at the base of the Pluto ski run. The Search and Rescue Teams assisted the hiker to that location where he was loaded into the snowcat and transported to the Agassiz Lodge to be reunited with a family member. The Search and Rescue personnel hiked down the mountain and completed the mission by 11:30 A.M.

This incident was another example of the close working relationship between the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue, DPS Air Rescue, and the Arizona Snowbowl to resolve an emergency. Even in the spring, winter like conditions can still exist on the San Francisco Peaks. Hikers on the peaks trails should research the conditions and be prepared to turn around if the conditions become hazardous or the trail becomes difficult to navigate. Hikers should also be personally and physically prepared for the hike including carrying the appropriate equipment and clothing and leaving a detailed trip plan with a trusted person.

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