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3 rescues in 1 week bode poorly for hiking season

By Andrew Adams | Posted - May 29th, 2013 @ 5:57pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — If this week is any indication, it's going to be an active season for outdoor rescues.

Unified Police alone have assisted with three in the last week, including one Wednesday at the Mt. Olympus Trail: A 61-year-old hiker fell, was knocked unconscious, and had to be carried down the mountain by rescuers.

"This is one of the more difficult hiking trails we have here in Salt Lake County," said detective Jared Richardson.

Fortunately for the victim, who fell on near-level ground, some other hikers were nearby and quick to render aid.

"He was unconscious and he was bleeding from several lacerations on the face," said retired doctor John Hibbs. "We immediately checked him and made sure he was breathing, which he was."


Another hiker arrived shortly after and did what he could.

"I gave him my sweatshirt for more padding, and then I ran down the trail about a half mile or so and helped the firemen who were on their way up," said Matt Woolf.

Woolf stayed by the man as crews escorted him down the mountain.

While hikers have been kind, the terrain hasn't. The third rescue this week for county crews proved challenging because of the terrain.

The two other rescues on Memorial Day were taxing as well. In one case, one climber was injured after using a too-short rope and dropping 15 feet near Big Cottonwood Canyon.

You always want to make sure you're performing at your level and the skills that you have.

–Det. Jared Richardson

While that rescue effort was underway, a teenager decided to set out on a hike elsewhere in the canyon, got stuck and also needed rescuing.

"You always want to make sure you're performing at your level and the skills that you have," Richardson said.

He recommended scouting out the trails in advance when possible, taking along a cell phone and proper gear, as well as plenty of water.

Even the hikers seemed to be taking note of the risks following the third rescue this week.

"If you can get a friend to go with you — or somebody — always do it," Woolf said.

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