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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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12/10/2012 7:08:00 AM
Hikers stuck on 'hairy' perch

OAK CREEK CANYON -- A 25-year-old Cottonwood man and his 20-year old Sedona girlfriend were rescued from a potentially life-threatening experience when precariously perched on a rocky outcropping only about two feet square.  The mission to rescue the stranded hikers involved four public safety agencies, 20 rescuers and medical personnel and needed some 14 hours.

Shortly after 4 in the afternoon Wednesday, the Coconino Sheriff's Office received an urgent cell call for help from the man. He and the woman had become stranded while hiking the Sterling Trail near Vulture Arch in Oak Creek Canyon.  

A sheriff's deputy hiked to their location and determined they were stable. The two hikers were stranded on a rocky outcropping barely large enough to hold them both, 30 feet below the top of the canyon and 50 feet above the canyon floor.

The Sheriff's Search and Rescue Technical Team, Sedona Fire District and the DPS Air Rescue Helicopter were dispatched. The seven-man Technical Team encountered steep angles and unstable sandstone that made anchoring safety lines difficult.  One rescuer eventually attached to a safety line to a pine tree at the top of the canyon to reach the victims.

When the rescuer reached hikers, he outfitted them with "Hasty Harnesses," made of  a web material, and anchored the harnesses to the safety line. While being belayed, one of the rescuers attempted to traverse the victims to a safe point but one of the hikers collapsed from fatigue.  

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Article comment by: no man is an island indeed... .

Sadly lots of folks like to think they are islands and relish touting that fact...until you get a hurricane or the like...then all bets are off and they look for the nearest bridge!

in the grand scheme we are just one big mutli-colored and voiced swarm of beings on the surface of a rock flying through space... if we don't have each other and some sort of belief system then what do we have...

at least they were out hiking and not on the couch eating potato chips so they could steal your tax dollars through healthcare... (sarcasm intended... people can find a way to be upset about about trying to find the good in it as well)

Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Article comment by: Enlightened Human

Wow, people.....have a little compassion. Have you never made a wrong turn or a mistake? I'm glad the couple is safe and grateful to rescuers who have trained for this very reason. We are all human and we all need rescuing from different circumstances from time to time. No man is an island.

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2012
Article comment by: At Least Their Safe

Come on, cut them some slack! Stupid yes, but it's not like they intended for this to happen and probably learned a good lesson. The bottom line is their safe and no one was hurt during the rescue. If you want to complain about wasted tax dollars write a letter to the folks who occupy that big white house in Washington DC!

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2012
Article comment by: Judith Robins

I agree and how many times does someone have to be warned that the AZ mountains are deadly and to not respect that is a sure way to get hurt or die.

Posted: Monday, December 10, 2012
Article comment by: Enlightened Hiker

These idiots should be charged a fee for costing taxpayers money to rescue them. This was completely preventable other than their stupidity, and why should I pay for their stupidity?

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