Sedona AZ (January 27, 2021) – On January 24th, 2021, around 6:30 PM, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office received a call from three hikers who were stuck on Bear Mountain. The hikers told dispatchers that they had been hiking for roughly eight hours and repelled down a cliff about 200 feet and were now stuck. The group had limited battery life on their phones, only a few supplies, and weren’t prepared for the extreme weather. The hikers, a woman and two men all in their mid-20’s, are from the east coast.
Search and rescue crews and volunteers from Yavapai, Coconino, Gila and Maricopa counties were immediately deployed, along with DPS Ranger and the Air National Guard Blackhawk helicopters. As ground teams hiked for 2 days through extremely rough terrain and 18 inches of snow, weather conditions prevented several attempts by aircrews to rescue the hikers.
“I can’t express how dangerous the conditions were for our first responders. They risked their lives and worked around the clock in an effort to get to the stranded hikers. I want to thank them for all of their efforts and their continued service to our county and our state,” said Sheriff David Rhodes, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s personnel remained in communication with the group by cell phone to assess their condition and provide updates and encouragement on the rescue effort. The families of the hikers were also in contact with rescue personnel for the latest information on their loved ones.
Around 4 PM on Tuesday afternoon, January 26th, the weather cleared, and the Air National Guard Blackhawk helicopter was able to launch, rescuing all three hikers. They were transported to the hospital and treated for weather-related injuries.
“Considering the severe weather, these hikers are extremely lucky to be alive. This is an important reminder to pay attention to the weather conditions before embarking on our trails. Winter or summer, Arizona trails can be dangerous if you aren’t prepared,” said Sheriff Rhodes. “We don’t want anyone to be stranded and the lives of our first responders were put at risk during this mission.”
Thank you to Coconino, Gila, and Maricopa County Search and Rescue teams and volunteers who responded to the scene. In addition, we appreciate the support from the DPS ranger and the Air National Blackhawk that provide air support during this mission.
How can these people be so stupid, to hike on one of Sedona’s most rugged mountains, knowing
that snow was coming. They should be made to pay for everyone who rescued them. And how
could they not be better prepared? Just being from the east coast is no excuse.
I totally agree Margaret! When visitors get themselves into these situations, they should be charged the full cost of their rescue. As it is, WE pay for it all!!
So amazning there should be guards at the parking lot and permits to hike… I agree with these ladies too
They could be ffned but we are glad they did not die….. Ms L
DITTO ON ALL OF THE ABOVE. WE SHOULD HAVE SOMETHING LIKE THE
“STUPID DRIVERS LAW” IN THE VALLEY, FOR OUR HIKERS GIVING STRONG ALERTS AT
ALL TRAIL HEADS FOR OUR WHOLE AREA. I BELIEVE WE HAVE, OR HAD?, SOMETHING LIKE THIS FOR BELL ROCK RESCUE ISSUING FINES . SURE, WE HAVE HAD FRIEND FALL AND DIE FROM BEAR MT. AND THAT WAS WITH GOOD WEATHER. SO, IT IS DANGEROUS NO MATTER WHAT. SADLY.
Colorado has the CORSAR program (Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue) which reimburses rescue personnel for costs incurred, The cost is nominal…three dollars per year, or twelve dollars for five years. Others holding valid Colorado fishing licenses, hunting licenses, and other state sponsored outdoor permits have similar protection against rescue costs. It is emphasized that the program does not constitute insurance and does not cover emergency transportation.
Sounds like a good idea, especially for Arizona, where complicated and remote rescues are common.