A Long Night
The text came at 5:48 p.m. "SAR, respond to the Suncrest Ridge church in Draper for 2 lost hikers." The church is a staging area for rescuers to meet. ATVs and Side by Sides were hauled in to cut down the hiking time. For the Utah County Search and Rescue Team, this was a familiar exercise. Each year they get several calls at that location for lost or cliffed-out hikers. An airplane and a helicopter were brought in to try and spot the hikers. It took a while to spot the women. Finding people in a ravine or gully can be difficult. Having a small signaling mirror can help, but few people hike with one. Finally, the women were located. Now it was just a race to reach them before night fell.
According to the Utah County Sheriff's Office, this story is not unique. The region gets more than its share of calls. The rugged terrain makes it easy to get off the trail. Simple actions, like marking the trail with a cairn, a small pile of rocks, on your ascent, or periodically turning around and looking for landmarks to spot on your way down can help. But the reality is that even experienced hikers run into trouble coming down Lone Peak. And anytime SAR gets a call in that area, they know it's going to be a long night.