Lost Climber on Johnson Mountain

July 22, 2016 Posted by: Zion National Park

On July 22, 2016 at about 1:00pm Zion Dispatch received a report of a climber that was in need of help in an unknown location. The reporting party (RP) had not been climbing, but had received multiple texts messages from the subject saying he was in need of help. Rangers were able to meet with the RP and make contact with the subject via text message, but communication was difficult due to poor service in the area. Due to the unknown location of the climber Rangers asked subject to call 911 so they could get a good set of coordinates for his location. Working with Washington County Dispatch, Zion was able to get the coordinates that put him near the top of Johnson Mountain. This is rugged and difficult terrain with the possibility of 5th class climbing needed to access the coordinates. The temperature at this time was approximately 105 degrees. The subject was out of water and was complaining of muscle cramping and dehydration. He stated that he was not able to get down the way he went up and said that it required advanced climbing for him to get to his current location.

With these considerations in mind a helicopter with short haul capability was requested from Grand Canyon National Park. They were given the coordinates of the subject and were able to locate him on their initial recon flight into Zion. A second recon flight with the short haul rescuer on board was conducted to confirm an insertion point. A Zion short haul rescuer was then inserted to a point near the subject and was able to scramble to the subject and provide hydration. After the subject was rehydrated the Rescuer and subject were able to scrambled back up to the extraction point and were short hauled back to the Watchman Helispot at 6:46pm. At the helispot the subject refused all medical attention against advice.

Lessons learned: Always tell someone where you are hiking; cell service is not available in many places in Zion National Park. When hiking in the heat always carry more water and food than you think you will need, you can go from being OK to being disabled in a short period of time.

Search and Rescue, Helicopter, Johnson Mountain , Shorthaul, climbing , Hiking

Last updated: September 16, 2016

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