UTAH COUNTY, Utah, Jan. 19, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Three men were rescued from the west face of Mount Timpanogos Monday night.
Deputies with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched at approximately 6:45 p.m. to a report of three men, ages 19, 20, and 21, who were near the top of the mountain, according to a news release.
“They reported they were freezing and were stuck and unable to get down on their own,” the news release said. “Search and rescue with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, working with helicopter crews with the Utah Department of Public Safety and Life Flight, teamed up in an effort to get these men off the mountain.”
After calling for help they began to work their way down the west face of Mount Timpanogos, the news release said. When SAR arrived at the Battle Creek trailhead they used current GPS coordinates for the location of the men. Knowing the area well, SAR volunteers and officials knew there were cliffs near the men that put them at grave risk for their safety. They told the men to stop where they were while help came to them.
“While both DPS and Life Flight helicopter crews were ready to assist, the DPS helicopter crew members were able to drop a ‘care package’ to the stranded men,” the news release said. “The package contained hand warmers, some snacks, and a two-way-radio to improve communications, given the fact their cell phone was down to 11% battery power.”
After dropping the package to the men, the DPS crew was able to hoist them to the helicopter one at a time and fly them to the command post. The men were evaluated by paramedics with Pleasant Grove Fire Department. At least one of them was taken to a hospital by friends. He sustained serious frostbite to his hands, but they all experienced hypothermia to some degree. All three men were brought off the mountain by about 10:40 p.m.
“During summer months, when someone is stranded under similar circumstances, SAR officials will have them wait until daylight when it is safer to fly to them or use ground crews to help them down,” the news release said. “In winter months, however, conditions can be much more serious — even life threatening. When planning to get them down from the mountain SAR officials make two or more approaches. In this case the best and quickest way to get the victims off the mountain is by helicopter hoist. While that plan is underway, teams are sent by ground to hike to the victims. Should the best plan, plan A, with the helicopters not work out, then the ground teams, plan B, are already on their way to the victims.”
This saves precious hours should the first plan not work, the news release said. In this situation, bringing down or carrying out by hand would likely have taken until daylight the following day, rather then just four hours after the call came in.
“It is important when engaging in activities like this to be well prepared with equipment that will enable you to stay over night in any conditions should that become necessary,” the news release added. “These men, while prepared for some things they encountered, were not well prepared to stay longer, even overnight, on the mountain should that have become necessary. While they did sustain serious frostbite from the sub freezing conditions, the outcome could have been much worse. DPS and Life Flight are invaluable assets in helping to bring these kinds of life threatening situation to a successful resolution.”