MOUNT OLYMPUS, Utah, June 26, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — It was a busy Saturday evening for search and rescue crews after two groups of hikers became stranded at separate locations in Salt Lake County.
The Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office first received reports about two hikers stuck on the West Slabs of Mount Olympus about 3 p.m., according to post on the office’s Facebook page Sunday.
The two were climbing without ropes and had nearly reached the top of the route when they became unable to continue moving up or down the mountain safely, the post states.
Three teams were deployed to assist the hikers — two ground teams and a four-person team inserted on the mountain by a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter, search and rescue officials said.
“The inserted team quickly accessed and secured the two patients,” the post states. “Lots of rope rescue things were done. Anchors were built, rescuers were lowered or rappelled, and patients were raised or belayed up to the safety of the ridge. Once on the ridge, all began the descent route, which involved scrambling, down climbing, and some more rope rescue things.”
The rescue took about nine hours but “went smoothly,” according to the Facebook post. The hikers and rescue crews were off the mountain around midnight, the post states.
About one hour into the rescue, one of the ground teams 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 up to Lake Blanche, over the Big Cottonwood/Little Cottonwood ridge line and down into the Lisa Falls gulley, the Facebook post states.
“The party had reportedly been out all day, (they) were worn out, running out of water, and could not continue down the treacherous terrain safely,” the post states.
Search and rescue officials divided gear and volunteers at the staging area for the Mount Olympus rescue to reroute resources to the Lisa Falls gulley operation, according to the sheriff’s office.
Three teams were deployed at the base of the falls: one team to climb up to the stranded hikers, a second team to affix rope lines for the descent, and a drone team to find the hikers, the post states.
The drone team located the hikers about 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 in for a feasible ground rescue, the post states.
A DPS helicopter was able to hoist the hikers directory out of upper Lisa Falls, officials said. All hikers and rescuers were off the mountain by about 9:30 p.m. The number of hikers rescued from the mountain was not immediately available.
Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer organization serving residents and visitors recreating in the county. Donations to support the team can be made at saltlakesearchandrescue.org.