MOUNT OLYMPUS, Utah, June 26, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — It was a busy Saturday night for search and rescue teams after two groups of hikers became stranded in different locations in Salt Lake County.
The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office first received reports of two hikers stuck on the west slabs of Mount Olympus around 3 p.m., according to a post on the office’s Facebook page on Sunday.
The two were climbing without ropes and had nearly reached the top of the route when they became unable to continue climbing or descending the mountain safely, the post said.
Three teams were deployed to help the hikers — two ground teams and a four-person team inserted onto the mountain by a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter, search and rescue officials said.
“The inserted team quickly accessed and secured both patients,” the post read. “A lot of rope rescue stuff has been done. Anchors were built, rescuers were lowered or abseiled, and patients were lifted or secured to the safety of the ridge. Once on the ridge, it all started the descent route, which involved climbing, descending and other rope rescue stuff.
The rescue took about nine hours, but “went well,” according to the Facebook post. Hikers and rescue teams were off the mountain by midnight, the post said.
About an hour after the rescue began, one of the ground crews was called away from Mount Olympus to assist a group of hikers in Little Cottonwood Canyon, according to the sheriff’s office.
The group had hiked to Lac Blanche, over the Big Cottonwood/Little Cottonwood ridge line and into Lisa Falls Ravine, the Facebook post said.
“The group would have been out all day, (they) were exhausted, running out of water and unable to continue on the dangerous terrain safely,” the message read.
According to the sheriff’s office, search and rescue officials divided equipment and volunteers in the Mount Olympus rescue staging area to redirect resources to the Lisa Falls ravine operation.
Three teams were deployed at the foot of the falls: a team to go up to the stranded hikers, a second team to affix ropes for the descent, and a drone team to find the hikers, specifies the post.
The drone team located the hikers approximately 1,900 vertical feet from the road, according to the sheriff’s office. After about three hours, search and rescue officials determined the hikers were too high and too far away for a feasible ground rescue, the post said.
A DPS helicopter was able to hoist the hiker’s directory off the top of Lisa Falls, officials said. All hikers and rescuers had left the mountain by 9:30 p.m. The number of hikers rescued from the mountain was not immediately available.
The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer organization serving residents and visitors who recreate in the county. Donations to support the team can be made at saltlakesearchandrescue.org.