On July 3rd at around 8am, two climbers visiting from Ohio made the approach to the base of Epinephrine, a 5.9 route located in Black Velvet Canyon that consists of 15 pitches. They carried the climbing equipment that they needed for the day along with 5 liters of water and began their ascent. As the day progressed, they lost the route on several occasions and consumed their last bit of water at 4pm. As the sun set, they began coming to the realization that they may be in trouble. By 11pm, they knew that they needed help. They eventually found a ledge where they were able to get cell phone reception and made the call.
At 12:30am on the 4th, our Unit received the call and 5 Officers were immediately dispatched to the area. While they assessed the situation, it was determined that a technical rescue was needed. Volunteers received the call at 2:30am and met at the Cottonwood parking lot. Officers began setting up systems while the Volunteers were en route.
As volunteers arrived, they boarded the helicopter and were flown to Black Velvet Peak.
One Officer was immediately lowered to the Climbers, which were on a ledge approximately 400 feet below the peak. After an initial assessment was conducted, one Volunteer was also lowered to help in recovering the two stranded climbers. Over the course of the next 5 hours, both Climbers were raised back to the peak. At one point, sleet came down on the team followed by heavy rain.
The Haul team hard at work raising the last Rescuer to the peak:
Edge team managing belay and main-line friction:
The sun rising over Black Velvet Canyon:
Both climbers were safely delivered to their vehicle and learned that 5 liters of water just wasn't enough and that route planning is crucial, especially in an unfamiliar environment.
They did, however, do a couple of things right. They told people where they were going and when they found that they were in trouble, they stayed put and called for help. Even if they weren't able to get cell reception, their friends knew that they were overdue, knew where they were, and would have been able to call for help on their behalf.
We're always happy to have a positive outcome! Stay safe out there!