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Search and Rescue Performs Mountain Snow Rescue

View of San Francisco Peaks, site of the Humphries Trailhead and Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff AZ.

Sedona AZ – On June 28, 2019, at approximately 5:00 p.m., the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office received a call about stranded hikers on the Weatherford Trail near the Humphreys Saddle, Flagstaff.

The two adult hikers from Flagstaff activated the SOS feature on their satellite emergency notification device after they found themselves in a snowfield approximately four feet deep. The International Emergency Response Coordination Center contacted the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office after receiving the SOS notification, and a Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Deputy / Search and Rescue Coordinator, along with personnel from the Search and Rescue Unit, responded to the stranded hikers.

Due to the location of the subjects and the nature of the terrain, Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team members hiked up the Humphreys Trail and then down the Weatherford Trail with additional snowshoes.

At approximately 9:15 p.m., Search and Rescue Team members found the rescuers in good condition and assisted in guiding them to Humphreys Trail where they were reunited with family. Throughout the rescue, the Search and Rescue Coordinator was able to communicate with the hikers through their SEND device, and learned they were adequately prepared to wait until rescuers arrived with extra food and water, space blankets, and a stove for warm food.

Unexpected conditions can be encountered in the wilderness in all seasons. Being prepared and making good decisions about when to call for help was important in making this a successful rescue.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Unit would like to remind all outdoor users to be prepared for the unexpected. That includes having the Ten Essentials including water, food, extra warm clothing, navigation equipment, headlamp, first aid kit, emergency shelter material, backpacking stove/fire starting kit, pocket knife/multi-tool, and a whistle. A fully charged cell phone or other communication device is also recommended in case the need arises to call for help.

Outdoor users should always leave a detailed trip plan with a trusted person who can relay that to search and rescue if necessary. Never go far afield in the southwest wilderness without leaving notice of your plan and estimated time of return. Finding you in the wilderness may depend on how well you plan.

2 Comments

  1. Rawlins Deeds says:

    SNOW ? June in Flagstaff cool never snow, right ? From Albuquerque and never knew Flagstaff gets that summer weather, Colorado maybe not AZ. Climate change, Salton Sea disappears to desert years ago then Flagstaff gets snow in summer, what’s going down AZ, new ice age beginning?

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